Canadians face growing threat of urban flooding: ICLR, TD Insurance
September 15, 2023
By Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction
Canadians coast-to-coast have experienced more than one billion dollars in damage in the past year from basement flooding and other water damage to their property, according to CatIQ, 2023. To support building more flood-resilient communities, TD Insurance has collaborated with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) to launch the newest “Showcase Homes” initiative, a program designed to demonstrate actions to reduce risk of loss from extreme events.
Together, ICLR and TD Insurance have retrofitted at-risk homes in Edmonton to help reduce the potential impact of basement flooding to these homeowners and help raise awareness for Canadians in high-risk areas across the country.
“Extreme rainfall is a top disaster driver in Canada. Governments and homeowners should act to protect Canadian homes from the effects of extreme rainfall related flooding,” said Paul Kovacs, founder and executive director of ICLR. “Working together, insurers, governments and households can significantly reduce the risk of urban flood impacts.”
Participating households received a free inspection for the risk of flood prior to participating in this project. EPCOR’s free inspection program helps to identify individual property risks and make recommendations to mitigate flood risk. EPCOR also offers subsidies for backwater valves which protect homes against sewer backup.
ICLR also worked with homeowners and local contractors to implement sewer backflow protection measures, enhance lot grading and drainage, maintain pre-existing basement flood protection systems and identify available subsidies.
“We are proud to collaborate on this project with ICLR to help homeowners understand the simple steps they can take to protect their homes from water damage,” said Jason Thacker, senior vice-president, Claims, Fraud, Litigation, & Vendor Management, TD Insurance. “Flooding in urban areas is an issue that extends across Canada. We’re committed to helping Canadians understand and reduce their climate-related risks”.
TD Insurance established its Advisory Board on Climate Change in 2019, comprised of experts from Canadian universities and Engineers Canada who are helping guide efforts under TDI Insurance’s role as a signatory to the UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance. This collaboration with ICLR is the first initiative to be rolled out by TD Insurance and its Advisory Board whose commitment extends into 2024 and beyond.
Flooding resulting from short-duration, high-intensity rainfall in urban areas is expected to worsen, according to Canada’s Changing Climate Report, 2019. To address this increasing risk, governments, particularly local governments, and homeowners must work together to increase resilience to extreme rainfall-related flooding.
EPCOR is leading the effort in the city of Edmonton to implement a 20-year Stormwater Integrated Resource Plan (SIRP), an innovative approach to assess risks and prioritize improvements to reduce flooding impacts. Other municipal governments have made progress with complex infrastructure management approaches, ensuring adequate drainage system capacity, and managing excess water flow into sewer systems; but consumers, especially those in higher-risk flood regions, have a role to play. Municipalities and insurers across Canada have been encouraging homeowners to take proactive steps, including improving lot grading and drainage, disconnecting downspouts and foundation drains from sanitary or combined sewer systems, and installing sewer backflow protection measures to mitigate basement flooding. Many municipalities and utility providers across Canada have programs, including rebate opportunities, to encourage homeowners to make these investments.
To help educate homeowners and demonstrate the steps they can take to protect their homes from floods, ICLR and TD Insurance are hosting a Flood Protection Display Centre at a TDI Auto Centre from Sept. 12 to 15, open to members of the community interested in learning about making their homes more resilient to flood. The Display Centre includes large working models of basement flood protection options, including backwater valves and sump pump backup systems. The display centre is located at 4204 55 Ave NW, Edmonton and will be open between 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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