Extreme weather and the insurance industry

Damage and loss from extreme weather has been increasing exponentially 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 

We work with The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), a centre for multi-disciplinary disaster prevention research and communications. The ICLR’s strategic plan includes focussing on four priority issues: reducing basement flooding, construction of disaster-resilient new homes, enhancing the resilience of existing homes, and expanding the role of private insurance. 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. Visit our Resource Centre for more information on staying safe and finding the right coverage for your needs.

Climate Change Disclosure

As part of our effort to be a catalyst for a sustainable society, we commissioned a study of how co-ops integrate climate change into public reporting so that it may serve as a benchmark and help organizations improve in the future. Review of Climate-Related Disclosures by Canadian Co-operatives and Credit Unions was published in October, 2017.

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 in 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 Re to create Partners for Action (P4A) Network at the University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment with a combined 1.1 million from the two founding partners. This network, seeks to identify opportunities to improve Canada’s flood resiliency.

In 2017, Partners for Action published “Canadian Voices on Changing Flood Risk”. The report presents the findings of a national survey, which gathered the opinions of 2,300 individuals from across the country who live in communities with high flood risk. It found that only 6% know they live in a designated flood risk area, and only 21% believe that the risk of flooding will increase over the next 25 years.

The research and team-based approach of our internal Flood Initiative enabled us to launch homeowner coverage in Alberta in 2015, Ontario in 2016, and across the rest of Canada in 2018. We’re also the first insurer in Canada to offer storm surge coverage in coastal provinces. For more information, see Comprehensive Water, and to understand your risk try the Water Risk Assessment.