The exact dollar amount of the Fort McMurray fires still has to be worked out by insurance companies.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Director of Media and Digital Communications Steve Kee says there have been a few numbers being thrown around, but we won’t know for sure until adjusters can get into the city and assess the situation, which may take a few months.
“In 2013, during the Alberta floods, the floods happened in June, and the estimate that we released through some of the sources that we work with was in September.”
In the meantime, you can claim living expenses if you’ve been evacuated, just make sure to keep your receipts. IBC Director of Government Relations Heather Mack says claims are not dependent on when you submit them, so don’t stress about it unless you have an urgent need.
“It’s good to start it early since there may be funds that you can get access to right away, but do it on your own timeline. We’re here to help, not to add to your stress.”
Mack says one common misconception is that people may not be covered due to an “act of god” clause.
“Insurers pay for fire damage, it’s got nothing to do with this ‘act of god’ term, which is actually a term that’s not used at all in property insurance, so we’ve been sort of taking this issue on for years, to dispel that.”
As for premiums, Western and Pacific VP Bill Adams says we shouldn’t see a drastic increase due to the fire that swept through Fort McMurray. Some companies may need to bump up their rates, others won’t depending on how many of their clients are from Fort Mac
Kee adds that, in general, companies have been paying out more claims in the past few years, leading to increases that we’re seeing now.
“Insurers used to pay out $500 million a year in insured damages, now that number hovers around the billion dollar a year mark, and in 2013 that number was over $3.2 billion.” (kdr)