The Co-operators Group Limited has released a report looking into issues of insurance coverage against flooding in Canada. While some homeowners may be eligible for relief from the federal government’s Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements (DFAA), Canada is the only G8 country in which insurance against overland flooding is not available.

Toronto’s Dufferin underpass during a storm event. Photo: Eastmain

The Co-operators commissioned Dr. Jason Thistlethwaite and Dr. Blair Feltmate of the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo to perform the study that informs Assessing the Viability of Overland Flood Insurance: The Canadian Residential Property Market. During the study, the team interviewed CEOs and executives from insurance companies accounting for 57 per cent of the property insurance business in Canada on their perceptions of insurance coverage for overland flooding in the country.

“The way things stand, property owners are not adequately protected under a system that places too much emphasis on recovery at the expense of mitigation,” saysThe Co-operators’ CEO and president Kathy Bardswick. “There is no question that this is a complex issue that requires a multi-stakeholder solution involving insurers, governments, developers, banks and homeowners. This report identifies the key issues, challenges and opportunities and we’re eager to engage these stakeholders to build upon this research and work toward a solution that better protects our communities and our economy.”

Governments’ approach to spending is a concern to many of those surveyed, who believe too little is being invested in mitigation and adaptation. Other key concerns include a lack of reliable information on flooding, and the need for additional investments in flood defenses.

The interviews were performed in winter 2013, before this summer’s flooding in Alberta and Toronto.


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