VANCOUVER, Oct. 17, 2014 /CNW/ - This week, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Steven Blaney, told the 150 delegates at Insurance Bureau of Canada's (IBC's) National Earthquake Symposium in Vancouver that he is committed to partnering with the insurance industry and other stakeholders to prepare the country for a major earthquake. "I am so proud to have IBC on board," he said.
Minister Blaney spoke about how collaborative earthquake preparedness efforts align with the Government of Canada's shift towards placing a greater emphasis on prevention/mitigation and resilience, while still maintaining strong emergency preparedness, response and recovery networks. "Preparing for an earthquake means acting now," said Minister Blaney. "We need to build resilient communities that can better withstand and recover from the impacts of natural disasters and other emergencies."
In his remarks at the end of the two-day event, IBC President and CEO Don Forgeron committed IBC to continuing to lead the national conversation on preparing Canada for an earthquake. "It's vital we get this right. We owe it to all Canadians," he said.
Attendees to the invitation-only event were leaders in business, academia, government and emergency preparedness. Speakers included scientists, government representatives and insurers, including the chief executive of the Insurance Council of New Zealand who shared lessons learned from the 2011 Christchurch quake.
The prevailing theme of Preparing Canada for an Earthquake - A National Conversation was partnership. An audience poll showed that 89% believed the insurance industry should work with government to explore a public/private partnership to share earthquake risk.
IBC experts made two key presentations. Mary Lou O'Reilly, IBC Senior Vice-President of Issues Management and Communications, shared polling results that showed that Canadians are not as prepared for a major quake as they think they are. Gregor Robinson, IBC Senior Vice-President of Policy and Chief Economist, explained the economic impacts of a major quake on the country and on the P&C insurance industry. He raised the need for a public/private partnership to address the risk and told delegates that an earthquake that exceeds a 1-in-500 year event has the potential to result in industry insolvency.
A detailed report on the symposium will be available on ibc.ca later this fall.
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.
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SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada
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