EDMONTON, July 4, 2013 /CNW/ - "Am I covered?" "When can I start to
rebuild?" These are just some of the questions fielded by Insurance
Bureau of Canada's Information Officer, Frits Wortman, who has handled
hundreds of calls since the Alberta floods. The 50-year insurance
veteran who is one of the insurance professionals staffing IBC's
Consumer Information Centre at 1-800-377-6378 says most callers ask
about the process of both filing a claim and applying for government
Every insurance company that writes policies in Alberta has extra staff
- claims adjusters, customer service representatives, 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 Alberta claims in this disaster situation.
Wortman explains that consumers must first make a claim to their insurer
whether or not they are covered for any damages. If they are not
covered, the insurer will then issue a letter of denial that consumers
can use for their Alberta Emergency Management Agency disaster relief
application. To speed up the disaster assistance funding, the
government does not require the letter in advance of issuing funds, but
it will require it eventually.
He also advises consumers on how to proceed if they don't agree with
their insurer's decision to deny a claim. "I tell them there's a
process to follow," he says. Consumers should first contact the company
claims manager, followed by the company liaison officer. Consumers can
also appeal to the General Insurance Ombudservice. Every insurer has an
ombudsman at the ready to review the concerns of customers.
Wortman has answered a range of complex insurance questions related to
the floods. In particular, consumers have had insurance questions
related to condominiums, small business, non-profit organizations,
secondary homes, rental properties.
Wortman's approach is to listen carefully and empathetically, then offer
whatever practical information and advice he can about the process for
seeking help whether through an insurance claim or government disaster
funds. "You have to feel for people. It's a bad situation. People tell
us that just talking to somebody seems to have helped a great deal,"
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
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SOURCE: INSURANCE BUREAU OF CANADA
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