50th anniversary of Great Alaskan Earthquake is reminder of the current earthquake threat for Canada

VANCOUVER, March 27, 2014 /CNW/ - Fifty years ago this week, the Great Alaskan Earthquake impacted Canada's west coast triggering a tsunami, causing ground fissures and collapsing structures on Vancouver Island.  The tsunami travelled up a fjord to hit Port Alberni. Lasting just three minutes, the earthquake was the most powerful recorded in recent North American history and the second most powerful ever measured by a seismograph.

The anniversary of this powerful earthquake reminds us that British Columbia is in a very significant seismic area and that another earthquake will hit. That is why Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is researching this important issue and educating Canadians about the need to prepare.

Last October, IBC released the results of a study it commissioned on the impact of two possible major seismic events, one in British Columbia and the other in eastern Canada. The British Columbia scenario anticipated economic losses of $75 billion, including insured losses of $20 billion.

"In the last few years, earthquakes have hit many parts of the world – Chile, Haiti, New Zealand and Japan – with devastating consequences. So far, Canada has been fortunate but we are not immune," said Bill Adams, IBC's Vice-President, Western and Pacific. "The question is not if, but when, the next major quake will happen. If a mega-earthquake strikes a densely populated area, the insurance industry would play a key role in the recovery. That's why our industry has made preparing Canada for an earthquake one of its strategic priorities."

In light of this week's Auditor General of BC's report about earthquake preparedness, IBC is more committed than ever to working with governments and other stakeholders on this very important issue.

"According to Natural Resources Canada, Canada has a 30% chance in the next 50 years of being hit with an earthquake. Our industry agrees that it is time for regional and national conversations on how to prepare for a mega-earthquake. This is why we are pleased with the BC Government's announcement of a consultation on all aspect of earthquake preparedness" said Adams.

To learn more about the IBC-commissioned earthquake impact study, visit ibc.ca.

For the executive summary of the report:

For the full report:

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 and levies 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: If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release. To schedule an interview, please contact: Steve Kee, Director, Media & Digital Communications, 416-362-2031 ext. 4387, skee@ibc.ca


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