Meeting set to address financial risk from flood

A meeting with provincial and territorial emergency management ministers has been set for Jan. 25 for the Insurance Bureau of Canada to provide proposals for a new financial mechanism to address flooding.

It will be the third in a series of meetings between emergency management ministers and the insurance industry.

The first was a roundtable meeting in Regina last year, hosted by Ralph Goodale, federal minister of public safety and emergency preparedness. Another meeting took place in May when the IBC presented models from countries with varied approaches to the issue, focusing on the Netherlands, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.

“This is the follow-up to those meetings and we have conducted an analysis — supported by our members — in putting forth different options which will be tabled at the meeting,” IBC federal affairs VP Craig Stewart told Thompson’s.

He said the IBC is not suggesting that the Canadian government should take one approach or another to address the financial risk of flood.

“We are not providing recommendations, just trying to provide details for the ministers and they will decide,” Mr. Stewart said.

He said the Netherlands focuses heavily on strategic retreat of water, the U.K. has a national flood reinsurance program, Flood Re, and Australia focuses on mitigation and urging private market solutions. But he said Canada needs its own solution.

“We expect there is still a large amount of work to do and whatever the ministers decide, the devil will be in the details,” he said.

“Will there be a high-risk pool or more private market-driven solutions, or maybe stick with the status quo and focus on investments and mitigation?”

Mr. Stewart said it is reasonable to expect the ministers to work on this well into the new year. A decision will likely come after the federal general election in October 2019.

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