On October 20, 2016 at 10:20am, Quebec and British Columbia are preparing to face ”The Great ShakeOut” Don’t panic! It’s only an international earthquake preparation exercise.
APRIL Canada is participating in the Emergency Preparedness Week by emphasizing the importance of preparing ourselves in case of natural disaster, whether it’s a tornado, torrential rains or an earthquake. Indeed, extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and more extreme in terms of casualties, financial loss or loss of property.
“Extreme weather events which, in the past, occurred every 40 years are now happening every six years in certain regions,” explains Pierre Babinsky, Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
“And the financial and human costs of catastrophes will continue to rise,” adds Blayne Haggart, Research Officer, Economics Division.
Amongst all natural disasters, earthquakes are one of the most damaging. But what is the likelihood of such a risk occurring in Canada ?
“The risk of an earthquake in Canada is very high. More specifically there are 2 high risk zones, one in BC and one in Quebec. According to Natural Resources Canada, there is a 5 to 15 % risk of a major episode occurring in the Quebec-Montreal-Ottawa corridor in the next 50 years”, states Caroline Phémius, IBC’s Public Affairs Consultant.
But are your clients aware of this threat and are they ready to face such a catastrophe? It’s unlikely. As a matter of fact, according to recent surveys conducted for the IBC, 91% of Quebeckers believe that their home wouldn’t be at risk of being damaged by an earthquake.
Each year, 450 earthquakes are recorded in Eastern Canada, including Quebec. Yet, only 3 % of insured persons have the appropriate coverage. This is why it is critical to better inform them. APRIL therefore invites its partners to take part in “The Great ShakeOut” on October 20, 2016 at 10:20am.
“APRIL Canada offers commercial and residential solutions”, states Karen Roller, Underwriting Director at APRIL Canada. “It is possible to add additional coverage to your existing policy for damages resulting from: landslides, avalanches or other earth movements occurring at the same time, and resulting directly from an earthquake*”
“This coverage is available for an additional premium and can vary from 2 to 25% of the total insurance premium depending on the location of the risk. Premiums are usually higher in coastal areas such as BC and tend to be lower in regions less exposed to earthquakes. It is important to note that a deductible corresponding to a percentage of the overall insured amount applies to this coverage. For example, the standard deductible for BC is 10% of the average value of a property in this region. This means that the insured will be responsible for a minimum of $50,000 of the total amount of damage. This amount discourages a lot of people from purchasing such coverage. In Quebec, the deductible is much lower (2 to 4 %), although usually subjected to minimum premiums for commercial risks”.
“It is essential to remember, however, that when such an environmental event occurs, the associated damages can be significant and it is of course wiser to anticipate and bear part of cost of physical and financial damages than to pay the full amount, risk losing your property”.
Other than the coverage for the physical loss to the building structure and contents, one part of the coverage often overlooked is the additional expense if the dwelling is uninhabitable after loss. This also applies for a period if an evacuation is ordered due to earthquake. This coverage is not provided in the standard policy and is only available for those who purchase this additional coverage.
*However, this excludes: any form of flood, waves, tidal waves, ice or any waterborne object.
About “The Great ShakeOut”
This event is an opportunity to practice how to be safer during big earthquakes: “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” (See brochures and demonstration video).
Insurance brokers can invite their clients to participate in the event and encourage them to learn the proper movements in order to considerably reduce damage, injuries and casualties.
BE PREPARED, NOT SCARED
You can also provide your clients with this brochure prepared by the Department of Public Safety in collaboration with the Insurance Bureau of Canada to help them prepare for and survive an earthquake. Numerous brochures about storms, fire or winter emergencies are available too.
You will find all necessary information on the website The Great ShakeOut.