This Is Rich. Insurance Companies Want Ottawa to Fund Flood/Fire Insurance.


It's the old "privatize profit, socialize risk" scam and, if he runs true to form, it probably has some appeal to the prime minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau or, as I sometimes call him, Pipeline Pete.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada figures Ottawa should shoulder the cost of providing flood (and presumably fire) insurance coverage to homeowners impacted by the climate emergency.

"As the risk from climate change increases, yes, more Canadians could become uninsurable," said Craig Stewart, vice-president, federal affairs with the IBC.

The solution the IBC proposes is a national high-risk residential flood insurance program, which would provide insurance to residents in the most flood-prone areas, funded by the federal government.

It's one idea the Liberal government is studying as part of it's National Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation, which was formed last year. The group is also studying options to relocate people who live in areas with repeated flooding.

Stewart, a member of the task force through the IBC, says they'll present recommendations to Minister of Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair in the spring, but programs aren't likely to roll out until 2023 or 2024.

"We need all hands on deck, and insurers will absolutely play their part in addressing the problem, but we can't do it alone," Stewart said.

In the US, Congress had FEMA set up an insurance plan when private insurers stopped offering hurricane coverage. Being a political football in hyperpartisan times it's deeply in the red. An effort was made to put the programme on a break-even basis by increasing premiums but those homeowners howled like scalded cats and, hey, it's the South, so they pretty quickly canned that idea. Don't expect Team Trudeau to show more spine than that, not when they're up to their tits in bitumen and pipelines.

The American experience suggests these schemes don't work. Perhaps for a true "once a century" disaster but not for a recurrent problem, such as hurricanes or, in Canada, wildfires and severe floods. In one case FEMA paid out four "total loss" claims on the same property, in total far in excess of the property's value. In several cases rebuilding had not been completed before the next disaster arrived. Some homeowners want a full buy-back as though they bought their property with some imaginary government indemnity. People don't want to take a hit when government can spread their loss around, burying the costs on next year's tax bills.

It's a Band-Aid solution that isn't going to work. We're just dealing with early-onset flooding right now and we're panicking. The climate types tell us there's worse to come. We already have deficit-poxed government that's trying to fund pandemic relief and will soon have to cough up tens of billions of dollars to salvage our long-neglected but absolutely essential infrastructure. This is a government that partners with the fossil energy giants but won't get them to fund the clean-up of the ticking time bombs they'll someday offload onto the taxpayer. They're partnering with the industry behind these climate change impacts yet won't shut them down. And you're putting your grandkids' future in their hands. 


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