IBC donates $500,000 to fund research at Western to build safer homes

    Claims from natural disasters doubling every five to seven years

    LONDON, ON, April 16 /CNW/ - Thanks to a $500,000 donation from Insurance
Bureau of Canada (IBC), a typical two-story brick house, similar to many homes
found in tree-lined neighbourhoods across Canada, has been constructed here
for the sole purpose of being slowly destroyed. Over the next few years, the
home will be subjected to a variety of severe weather conditions, including
simulated winds of up to a category five hurricane (200 miles per hour) that
will eventually blow the roof off.
    The research is being conducted at the Insurance Research Lab for Better
Homes, the only facility of its kind in the world. Researchers at The
University of Western Ontario Faculty of Engineering are testing the house,
which is enclosed in a corrugated steel shell, in a controlled environment to
learn how to build safer residential structures and recommend improvements to
building codes.
    "Without the generous donation from Insurance Bureau of Canada, we
wouldn't be here today to officially open the Insurance Research Lab for
Better Homes," said Professor Michael Bartlett. "This lab will allow us to
assess the structural integrity of houses and help develop cost-effective
methods to retrofit existing homes and reduce human error during
    "Canada is witnessing a greater frequency in the severe types of storms
that in the past only occurred every 100 to 200 years," said Stan Griffin, IBC
President and CEO. "In fact, claims resulting from natural disasters are now
doubling every five to seven years."
    On Aug. 19, 2005, severe storms in Southwestern Ontario resulted in more
than $500 million in insurance claims. Storms in B.C. earlier this year that
hit Vancouver's Lower Mainland, southern Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands
created the second most expensive natural disaster in the province's history,
with insured damage of $135 million. The costliest disaster in Canadian
history is still The Great Ice Storm of 1998. Blanketing Quebec and much of
Eastern Ontario, it resulted in more than $1.2 billion in insurance claims.
    Canada's home, car and business insurers have enjoyed an ongoing
partnership with Western through the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
(ICLR). The industry founded ICLR in 1998 to promote effective loss mitigation
strategies by disseminating research results and influencing public policy

    Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the
private property and casualty insurance industry. It represents insurers who
provide more than 90% of the non-government home, car and business insurance
in Canada. To view news releases and information, visit the media section of
IBC's website at www.ibc.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Ellen Woodger at (416) 483-2358 or James
Geuzebroek, IBC, at (416) 362-2031

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