EDMONTON, July 10, 2013 /CNW/ - As thousands of people begin to pick up
the pieces following the devastating flooding in southern Alberta,
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is offering advice to help make filing
and managing an insurance claim as straightforward as possible.
"Our hearts go out to the many people returning home after the
flooding," says Bill Adams, IBC Vice-President, Western & Pacific
Region. "Not only are they grieving for the damage caused to their
homes and communities, but residents are also trying to get a handle on
the rebuilding process, which includes filing insurance claims. We want
to help make that part of the recovery go as smoothly as possible."
Every insurance company that writes insurance policies in Alberta has
extra staff - claims adjusters, customer service representatives and
underwriters - working to help Albertans recover from the recent
disaster. According to an IBC survey some 5,000 insurance company
personnel have been deployed to work on flood-related claims.
IBC offers these tips to help affected residents manage the insurance
Starting the process
Call your insurance representative and/or company. Most insurers have 24-hour claims service. Be as detailed as possible
when providing information. If you need help getting in touch with your
insurer, contact IBC's Consumer Information Line at 1-800-377-6378.
Prevent further damage. If it's safe to do so, start cleaning up and drying things out, and
protect your property from further damage (e.g., board up holes and
move items out of wet basements). Be sure to wear protective clothing
during the cleanup such as sturdy boots, gloves, a face mask, etc.
Speak with your insurance representative before making any non-urgent
List all damaged or destroyed items. If possible, assemble proofs of purchase, photos, receipts and
warranties. Take photos of damage incurred and keep damaged items,
unless they pose a health hazard.
Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses if you've been displaced. Ask your insurance representative about what
expenses you're entitled to and for what period of time.
Review your policy to ensure you are familiar with specified deductibles, coverage limits
and replacement values. Talk to your insurance representative if
anything is unclear.
Once you have reported a loss, a claims adjuster will be assigned. It may take some time given the number of people affected by the
flooding, but you will be contacted.
A claims adjuster will contact you to investigate the circumstance of the loss, examine the documents you
provide and explain the next steps. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
Take notes of the conversations.
Your insurance company will ask you to complete a "proof of loss" form, to list what property and/or items have been damaged or destroyed, with
the corresponding value or cost of the damage or loss. You must sign
and swear that the statements you make in the proof of loss are true.
Usually, the proof of loss must be completed and returned to your
insurance company within 30 days. Ask your insurance representative or
claims adjuster if something is unclear.
What's covered, what's not covered
Important note: Home and business insurance policies can differ among
companies, so be sure to talk to your insurance representative about
your specific coverage details.
Overland flooding resulting in water overflowing onto dry land and
causing damage is not generally covered in home insurance policies in
However, sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes and appliances
is covered by home insurance policies.
Water damage in a basement due to a sewer backup is only covered if
specific sewer backup coverage has been purchased.
In certain circumstances, homeowners who are unable to return home due
to insurable damage are entitled to additional living expenses (this
coverage is generally not available if an evacuation happened due to
Damage to vehicles from wind, hail or water is usually covered if
comprehensive or all perils coverage auto insurance has been purchased.
This coverage is not mandatory, so check your insurance policy or
contact your insurance representative.
There are many different, specialized insurance products for businesses.
Talk to your insurance representative for the specifics of your
Most business owners will have purchased two common types of insurance: commercial property insurance, which would include building and stock or equipment coverage to help
replace or repair damaged property and contents; and business interruption insurance to compensate for loss of income while a business is shut down
following an insured loss.
Flood insurance is available as an add-on coverage to both commercial property and
business interruption insurance policies. In other words, to be covered
for losses due to flood, business owners must have chosen and paid for
Sewer backup coverage is also available, but is usually purchased separately.
If you purchased a business interruption policy, find out whether it is
a limited (earnings) form or extended (profits) form.
A limited form pays only until the damage is repaired or the property is replaced. Ask
whether there are limits on the amount of time your business is covered
and the amount your insurance will pay in any one month.
An extended form continues to pay until your business resumes its normal,
pre-interruption level, subject to the maximum period of indemnity
listed in your policy.
What to do if you're unhappy with your insurer's decision
"Though a large number claims are being processed and successfully
settled as we speak, it's inevitable that with a disaster of this size
there will be some people who do not agree with the claims decision,"
says Adams. "Consumers need to know that if they do not agree with the
result of their insurance claim, they have appeal options."
IBC encourages consumers to investigate the following options:
Ask your claims adjuster for an explanation. If your claim has been declined, you have a right to know why. Ask for a
clear explanation, in writing if possible. You can also request to
speak with the company claims manager.
Consult your insurance company's ombudsperson. All federally/provincially licensed home, car and business insurers have
a dispute-resolution mechanism in place, including a complaints liaison
officer. This information should be available on your insurance
company's website, or consumers can check this list from the Alberta Superintendent of Insurance.
Call IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-377-6378. Consumers can get advice from an insurance industry professional.
This step is considered a last resort if you have exhausted the above
options and still have not resolved your complaint:
The General Insurance OmbudService (GIO) is an independent, regionally based consumer dispute resolution system
for the insurance industry. They provide consumers with a free,
independent and impartial process to resolve complaints about home, car
or business insurance. Call toll free: 1-877-225-0446.
For more information on insurance, your rights as a consumer and the
complaint resolution process, please visit ibc.ca.
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
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:
If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release. To schedule an interview, please contact:
Media Relations Officer
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 x 4312