Insurance Bureau of Canada reminds B.C. homeowners: Make sure you're covered before forest fires strike



    VANCOUVER, June 2 /CNW/ - British Columbia is already experiencing the
hot and dry weather more common in summertime, and with interface fires having
already affected some structures, Insurance Bureau of Canada is reminding B.C.
homeowners to check their insurance coverage now, rather than waiting until
forest fires are threatening their communities.
    "Every time disaster strikes we hear of homeowners caught either without
insurance or without adequate insurance," said Lindsay Olson, Vice-President,
B.C., Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). "Don't wait
until the fire is roaring down the hill. Understanding your insurance is a
year-round task, not just when there's a crisis. Call your insurance
professional to ensure that you have the right coverage and the right amount
of coverage."
    During natural disasters, such as wildfires, insurance companies may have
temporary restrictions on taking on new business, making the instant purchase
or upgrading of insurance exceptionally difficult.
    These same factors could also slow real estate transactions during a
state of emergency, potentially affecting realtors and those looking to buy or
sell a home.
    "In these situations, new policies are provided on a case-by-case basis.
In general, it will greatly increase the amount of time it takes to obtain
insurance," explained Olson. "Having some flexibility in the closing date will
be important for all concerned and will eliminate the pressure of these
deadlines."
    Olson stressed that insurance companies will continue to renew existing
policies even during a state of emergency, just as they did during the
historic fires in 2003. Canada's insurers will also be there to promptly deal
with all claims.
    "Our industry regularly steps in to help British Columbians recover from
insurable losses arising from natural disasters. It did so in 2003 by paying
more than $200 million in claims, in 2006/07 by paying more than $150 million,
and again this past winter when severe weather triggered $83.7 million in
claims payments. Homeowners could help themselves now by checking their
insurance, and taking steps to mitigate the risk to their homes and property."
    For more information on preventing fire around your home, visit the
Provincial Emergency Program, Government of British Columbia website.

    Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association
representing Canada's private home, car and business insurers. Its member
companies represent nearly 95% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance
market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs over 110,000 Canadians,
pays more than $6 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal
governments, and has a total premium base of $38 billion.
    To view news releases and information, visit the media section of IBC's
website at www.ibc.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Lindsay Olson, (604) 684-3635 ext. 224


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