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Floods of spring : an episode of «marked and marking» for insurers in Quebec


Andrea Lubeck

13 July 2017 07:00

Although the flood is a risk which began to be covered by some insurers, the flood waters occurring in may across the province of Quebec have been rich in instruction for the industry.

All insurers with which the of the insurance Journal spoke to agree that this episode of floods has been » marked and marking «. The phones of all the insurers have not stopped ringing during this period, have they entrusted to you. Few insurers, however, were developed to quantify the number of claims received, since claims can still be submitted.

The Journal of insurance has also been able to observe the processing, acceptance or denial of claims is different for each of the insurers. All records are resolved on a case-by-case basis. While some offer the rider against the rising flood waters, others have not added the protection to contracts to their insured. Not knowing what was going to happen, the majority of insured persons have received no communication indicating that they were covered. Some have therefore discovered by contacting their insurer.

At The Guarantee company of North America, fifty complaints were received, all of which will be accepted, because the insurer has added earlier in the year the protection against the flood waters in their police housing. «When we did the auto-add, there were no restrictions. However, a subscription will be made at the time of the renewal, and restrictions may apply «, underlines Daniel Richard, vice-president, general manager, Quebec, at the insurer.

Aviva Canada has also made available the addendum to the flood in march last. Martin-Éric Tremblay, senior vice-president, Quebec region, says that their protection is different from that of the industry because it covers the full amount of the policy. «Not only are sewer backups are covered, the floods also caused by a rain sudden, and the overflow of rivers» sets out there.

Robert Lépine, regional director, senior, compensation, property, eastern region of Canada Aviva Canada, says that the call volume was 2.5 times higher than usual. «The flood has obviously had a significant weight in the increase in the number of calls. They would also have been more numerous than in the same period of the last year without the event. «

6 000 claims at Desjardins

Desjardins General Insurance (dgi) assesses have processed 6 000 claims related to damage caused by water, 4,000 in April, and 2,000 in may. Valérie Lamarre, senior advisor, public relations for the co-operative movement, notes, however, that this is a preliminary estimate.

Desjardins estimates that 80 % of its members live outside the areas at risk and were able to take advantage of the addendum. Of the remainder, 15 % of policyholders who remain in areas of medium risk should ask to add the endorsement to their policy. They will be therefore an adjustment of pricing. For the remaining 5% in areas of high risk, the option is not available. «We called the covered clients that are located close to affected areas to see if they have suffered damage. They were informed of the coverage to which they are entitled «, specifies Ms. Lamarre.

About Intact Insurance and belairdirect, the rider against the rising flood waters has been added automatically to eligible clients, who remain in areas of low and medium risk. The claims service of insurers as states take into account the elevation, the permeability of the soil, and the history when the insurer assesses the eligibility of a property located in an area of medium to high risk.

«Insurance is there to protect the people of the unpredictable. For a home built on the edge of the water, the flood is a foreseeable risk. It is, therefore, is not eligible to add the endorsement, » says Jason Patuano, senior director, communications at belairdirect, who spoke on behalf of the two insurers.

The question of living expenses

Jean-Pascal Lavoie, conseiller en communication at La Capitale general insurance, reveals that there has been an increase of 30 % of the calls related to the water compared to the same period in 2016. He adds that the insurer is studying the possibility of offering the rider against the rising flood waters. «There is no decision that has been taken to that effect. «

By contrast, The Capital accepts the claims for sewer backups which are not attributable to the flood waters. «We evaluate the folders exactly as usual, in line with everything that is being done elsewhere in the industry. The flood is excluded from the basic contract, and is applied as soon as the water reaches the house, » he adds.

It also shows that The Capital has decided to pay the living expenses for the insured have been evacuated. The insurer also refunded the costs of consultation for psychological support, regardless of whether the insured is covered or not.

On the side of Promutuel Insurance, the payment of living expenses is made on a case-by-case basis. «When there is an evacuation order, these expenses may be eligible, but it depends on the contracts and their specific terms and conditions. In some cases, these costs have been reimbursed, » explains Émilie Dick Roy, a public relations consultant. Moreover, it has stated that Promutuel is to quickly provide the necessary documents so that the insured can receive compensation from the government program.

Promutuel states also focus on the rider against the rising flood waters. «We currently have several projects on the table, including a font management tool. It is certain that we are thinking about the possibility of offering the rider against the rising flood waters. The recent events are accelerating our thoughts about it, » said Ms. Dick-Roy.

On the side of SSQ auto and home, it was revealed that the number of complaints for the first five months of the year has been an overall increase in home insurance. The insurer is also considering to offer the rider against the rising flood waters, says his spokesperson Danielle Rioux. If the home is not protected from flooding, SSQ covers, however, the damage caused to a vehicle by this type of claim. The insurer has also offered assistance to its policyholders with respect to their dealings with the government, in order to obtain compensation, among others by establishing links with civil Security.

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