Insurers urge government to prepare for more severe weather: Invest in critical infrastructure; revise building codes

    "An extreme weather event does not have to become a natural disaster"

    TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) President & CEO
Mark Yakabuski today called for a comprehensive strategy to adapt to the
effects of increasingly severe weather.
    "Since the 1970s, we have witnessed a twenty-fold increase in the cost of
claims from extreme weather and geological losses. At the same time, we have
greater density in our cities, higher rebuilding costs and more expensive
contents," Yakabuski said as part of the panel at the Climate Adaptation
Expert Meeting hosted by the City of Toronto.
    He added: "We are at a critical juncture where we must deal with this
problem head on. Too many municipalities are struggling with infrastructure
that is well on in years and is in desperate need of upgrading."
    IBC is calling on governments to review all critical infrastructure to
ensure that our society is better able to deal with severe weather events in
the future.
    "The unfortunate reality is that infrastructure failure played a major
role in every major natural disaster in Canada in recent memory, including the
Ice Storm (January 1998), the Saguenay Flood (1996) and the Greater Toronto
Area rainstorm (August 2005)."

    Yakabuski called on all governments to work together to:

    -   Reinforce/improve infrastructure;
    -   Strengthen building codes and build in climatic design values;
    -   Consider sweeping land use revisions; and,
    -   Improve disaster management.

    IBC is the lead sponsor for the Insurance Research Lab for Better Homes
at the University of Western Ontario, a facility dedicated to testing building
methods and making recommendations for improvements in building codes. The
industry also funds The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, a
research-based organization that partners with the University of Western
Ontario to reduce natural disaster losses.

    Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national trade association of the
property and casualty insurance industry. Its member companies provide nearly
95% of the private home, car and business insurance sold in Canada.

For further information:

For further information: James Geuzebroek, (416) 362-2031 x4364

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