Coquitlam leads on adapting to extreme weather events by piloting new tool to plan infrastructure fixes and reduce basement flooding

COQUITLAM, BC, Nov. 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Today the City of Coquitlam and Canada's property and casualty insurance industry join forces to target infrastructure improvements in Canada's municipalities.

Together with Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the City of Coquitlam is launching a pilot project to use MRAT (for municipal risk assessment tool) to evaluate the city's sewer and stormwater infrastructure. This made-in-Canada technology is designed to help communities become more resilient to extreme weather.

Because of Canada's changing weather, communities now cope with more rain and snow, which can overwhelm already vulnerable infrastructure, and cause sewers to back up and basements to flood.

MRAT combines information - about infrastructure, climate and insurance claims - to produce maps that give city engineers a new and revealing picture of infrastructure vulnerabilities in 2013, in 2020 and in 2050.

MRAT will help municipalities identify vulnerabilities in their sewer and stormwater infrastructure and prioritize improvements to prevent sewer backups and keep basements dry. Click http://youtu.be/V9Z6kdMnTbs to see how MRAT works.

This view into the future will help cities identify vulnerabilities, prioritize repairs and leverage federal infrastructure dollars. The goal is fewer flooded basements.

"The City of Coquitlam is always interested in innovative partnerships that benefit our citizens," said Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart. "It is for this reason that we are especially proud to be on the cutting edge as a partner in developing MRAT - a new risk management and planning tool that will significantly benefit Coquitlam residents and businesses, as well as communities across Canada."

The Canadian property and casualty insurance industry has also faced rapidly rising claims costs to repair flooded basements. Insured losses from natural disasters in 2013 - including the recent Alberta and Toronto floods - are close to $3 billion, the highest in Canadian history.

"We commend Coquitlam and its leaders for participating in the MRAT pilot," said William Adams, IBC Vice-President, Western and Pacific. "Adopting MRAT is a decision by Coquitlam's civic leaders that says: let's use the best technology, let's take advantage of an innovative Canadian tool and let's bet on Canadian know-how."

The MRAT pilot will roll out in Coquitlam, BC, Fredericton, NB, and Hamilton, ON, today, followed by several more communities across the country in 2014.

About the City of Coquitlam
Coquitlam is home to over 129,000 people and is a vibrant, regional centre in the lower mainland of British Columbia. The city is positioned to experience significant growth over the next 30 years, with the population expected to reach over 220,000 by 2041. Coquitlam is committed to carefully managing the city's future while continuing to deliver the highest level of service to the community through leadership, sustainability and innovation.

To learn more about the City of Coquitlam, visit www.coquitlam.ca/economicdevelopment, follow us on Twitter @CityofCoquitlam or like us on Facebook.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.

To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of IBC's website at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. 

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information:

or to schedule an interview, contact:

Kathleen Vincent
Manager Corporate Communications
City of Coquitlam
604-927-3019
kvincent@coquitlam.ca 

Ellen Woodger
Communications Consultant
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-483-2358
ellen.woodger@sympatico.ca 

Helen Lialias
Media Relations Officer
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-434-1509
416-362-2031 ext. 4312
hlialias@ibc.ca


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