IBC tips to protect Ontarians and their property when severe weather strikes

TORONTO, May 5, 2014 /CNW/ - Severe weather – heavy rainfall, flooding, hail damage, storm surges, tornadoes – can strike hard with little warning and can have a devastating impact on communities and property.

As Emergency Preparedness Week begins, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers suggestions for how Ontario residents can protect themselves, their homes and businesses from the effects of severe weather, which is on the rise across Canada.

"Weather events that used to happen once every 40 years can now be expected to occur every six, says Ralph Palumbo, IBC's Vice-President, Ontario, adding that in an average year, the Canadian insurance industry pays approximately $1.7 billion in claims due to water damage.  "These losses show only part of the picture.  The human toll can be devastating for families.

"From being on the front lines when disaster strikes, the insurance industry understands the costly and devastating impact of severe weather on Canadians.  IBC is committed to helping families get the information they need to protect themselves and their property from the impact of severe weather," he adds."

IBC suggests these helpful severe weather preparedness tips:

  • Assemble an emergency kit – flashlight and batteries, battery-operated radio etc. 
  • Move valuable items from your basement to higher levels in your home.
  • Clear eaves troughs and downspouts – if safe to do so – to direct water away from your home.
  • Ask someone to check your property if you are away.

Also take these precautions if you have more time:

  • Create an emergency preparedness plan for your family.
  • Prepare a detailed home inventory. This can be done as photos or video.
  • Install a sump pump and/or sewer backup valve.
  • Elevate furnaces, hot water heaters and electrical panels in the basement or relocate them to a higher level.
  • Check with your insurance representative to make sure you have appropriate coverage.

"On behalf of Canadians, IBC has made adapting to severe weather a priority," says Mr. Palumbo. "We're spreading the word on the need to update infrastructure, engaging consumers on how to protect themselves and their properties, and working with provincial and municipal governments to help develop, promote and implement adaptation measures." 

Insurance Bureau of Canada is also participating in several Emergency Preparedness Events.   These include:

1) May 5th - City of Toronto
2) May 10th - Markham EP Week event
3) May 29 - 30th - ON Assn. of Emergency Managers AGM - Peterborough
4) May 31st - Huntsville - District of Muskoka Emergency Prep. Day

For insurance related questions, consumers can contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-387-2880 or visit www.ibc.ca

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is pleased to celebrate 50 years as a valuable resource for insurance information. Since 1964, IBC has been working with governments across Canada to make our communities safer, championing issues that directly affect Canadians and the property and casualty (P&C) insurance industry. IBC is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent 90% of the 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.

If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada

For further information: To schedule an interview, please contact: Steve Kee, Director, Media & Digital Communications, Insurance Bureau of Canada, (416) 362-2031 X-4387, skee@ibc.ca

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