Canadian Insurers Handling Hurricane Claims

October 2, 2003

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has issued a bulletin reassuring consumers that their property insurance will respond to storm-related damage caused by Hurricane Juan, which struck Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island last weekend (See IJ Website Sept. 29).

“Most homeowner and automobile policies will cover damage caused by windstorm, including broken windows. Additionally, sewer backup may be covered by special policy coverage,” said the IBC.

“When this kind of extreme weather hits, the priority for Canada’s Property and Casualty insurers is to assist in putting people’s lives back to normal,” stated Don Forgeron, IBC VP, Atlantic. “People need to know that insurance covers this kind of windstorm damage.”

The bulletin noted, “If a tree causes damage to your home, shed or fence, the damage caused is covered as is the removal of debris. Most homeowners and tenants package policies also cover damage to freezer contents.”

It also urged policyholders to discuss their coverages and any deductibles with an insurance professional as soon as possible, and advised them to make sure all loss claims are well documented. “Consumers are urged to contact their insurers to report damage claims and discuss coverage,” Forgeron added.

The IBC also said that special claims handling procedures are in place to deal with the aftermath of the Hurricane. Special claims response units have been established and additional staff are being sent in from other parts of the country. “Most companies are treating this as the extreme event that it was. In general, claims submitted in the Hurricane’s wake will not affect claims-free discounts,” Forgeron indicated.

“Consumers are encouraged to contact Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Consumer Information Centre in Halifax at 800 565-7189 or (902) 429-2730 for more information,” said the bulletin.

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