Extreme weather and the insurance industry

Payouts from extreme weather have more than doubled every five to 10 years since the 1980s. The costs of rebuilding have increased because of more frequent extreme weather events, inadequate infrastructure and rising property values. However, addressing this extreme weather trend has also brought a better understanding of how changing weather patterns impact the risks we face, along with innovative solutions to help everyone deal with them.

Advocates for change

As leaders in risk analysis, insurers are uniquely positioned to advocate for better ways to predict and prevent losses from extreme weather events. We believe in taking a proactive approach to helping reduce your risk.

At The Co-operators, we lend our expertise directly to civic planners and work collaboratively with government and non-governmental organizations to improve the resiliency of Canadian communities by:

  • discouraging building on flood plains or close to fault lines
  • encouraging stronger building standards
  • highlighting the need for infrastructure upgrades
  • supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy 

Kathy Bardswick, our President and Chief Executive Officer, is the Chair of the Board of The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR). A centre for multi-disciplinary disaster prevention research and communications, the ICLR’s strategic plan for the next five years includes focussing on four major hazards: water damage, severe wind, urban earthquakes and wildfires near built-up areas. Visit their website for homeowner safety tips and practical information on reducing damage to your property.

The Co-operators is always looking for new ways to keep you safe and take the worry out of dealing with claims. For more information on staying safe and finding the right coverage for your needs, visit our website.

Flood protection
As a co-operative insurer, we are passionate about our mission to provide financial security to Canadians. We believe Canadians should have the option to purchase flood coverage for their home and, through our Flood Initiative, we committed ourselves to facilitating industry and government dialogue on this important issue. We have supported research at the University of Waterloo since 2013, which resulted publications that did indeed initiate that much-needed dialogue:

In 2014, we gathered a broad range of stakeholders for the Partners for Action Roundtable, where priorities for advancing flood resiliency in Canada were identified.

Following the work with the Partners for Action Roundtable, we sponsored research that was published in a report called “Preparedness of Fifteen Canadian Cities to Limit Flood Damage.” Released in May 2015, this report identified adaptation initiatives that could significantly enhance flood resiliency in various municipalities. The goal was to motivate cities to increase efforts to build resilience against flooding and to provide a benchmark against which their progress can be measured.

In 2015 we partnered with Farm Mutual Reinsurance Plan Inc. to create the Partners for Action (P4A) Network at the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment. The network, which seeks to identify opportunities to improve Canada’s flood resiliency, will receive a combined $1.1 million from the two founding partners.

The research and team-based approach of our internal Flood Initiative enabled us to launch new homeowner coverage in Alberta in 2015. For more information, see Comprehensive Water to understand your risk try the Water Risk Assessment.