EDMONTON, July 4, 2014 /CNW/ - With serious flooding in parts of
Saskatchewan and Manitoba over the past week and news that the Manitoba
government has declared a provincial state of emergency, Insurance
Bureau of Canada (IBC) offers the following advice to help make filing
and managing insurance claims as straightforward as possible.
"IBC fully appreciates the significant toll severe weather events can
have on families and communities," said Bill Adams, IBC Vice-President,
Western & Pacific Region. "We want to help ensure the recovery goes as
smoothly as possible for all affected residents. Insurance adjusters
and representatives are on the ground in affected areas, providing
assistance and processing claims as quickly as possible."
IBC offers these tips to help people manage the insurance claims
Starting the process
Call your insurance representative and/or company
Most insurers have a 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 Centre at 1-877-772-3777.
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 damaged property. Talk to your insurer
before disposing of any damaged property.
Keep all receipts related to cleanup and living expenses
If you've been temporally displaced, ask your insurance representative
about what coverage you may be entitled to and the duration of this
coverage. Review your policy to ensure you are familiar with specified
deductibles, coverage limits and replacement values. Ask questions and
talk to your insurance representative if anything is unclear - they are
there to help you.
Once you have reported a loss to your insurance representative, a claims adjuster will be assigned to you. There may be a delay given the number of people currently affected by
the flooding, but you will be contacted as soon as possible.
A claims adjuster will contact you to document the circumstance of the loss, review the documents you
provided and explain the next steps in the claims process. Don't be
afraid to ask questions. Keep 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. Usually,
the proof of loss must be completed and returned to your insurance company
within 30 days. Again, 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 from a body of water overflowing onto dry
land and causing damage is not generally covered in home insurance
policies in Canada.
Sudden and accidental bursting of plumbing pipes is covered by home
Water damage due to a sewer backup is only covered if specific sewer
backup coverage has been purchased. This can be subject to a specific
amount or limit.
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 is ordered due to
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:
1) Commercial property insurance, which would include building and stock
or equipment coverage to help replace or repair damaged property and
2) Business interruption insurance to compensate for loss of income
while a business is shut down following an insured loss or extra
expenses should the business have to temporarily relocate.
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 this option under both types of coverage.
Sewer backup coverage is also available, but is usually purchased
If you purchased a business interruption policy, find out whether it is
a limited (earnings) form, extended (profits), rental income, or extra
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
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.
An extra expense form helps cover costs in order to continue as nearly
as possible the "normal" business of the insured.
What to do if there is disagreement
"While the vast majority of people are happy with the claims process,
occasionally some people may not agree with their insurer's decision,"
explained Adams. "If there is a disagreement about an insurance claim,
they have a number of appeal options."
IBC encourages consumers to investigate the following options:
Ask your claims adjuster for a clear explanation (in writing if
possible). If your claim has been denied, you have a right to know why.
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
Call IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-877-772-3777. Consumers can
get advice from an insurance industry professional.
If you have exhausted the above options and still have not resolved your
complaint you may contact the General Insurance OmbudService (GIO). GIO is an independent, regionally based consumer dispute resolution
system for the insurance industry. It provides 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 (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
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If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to
discuss the details in this media release.
SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada
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