What the industry learned from a 20-year-old wildfire

By Jason Contant
The Canadian Underwriter
January 11, 2024
Category: Business & Politics
Region: Canada

The devastation of British Columbia’s Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire in 2003 was unlike anything Janna Smart (for ClaimsPro) had adjusted before. …That wildfire alone cost the Canadian P&C industry more than $200 million in insured losses – and represented a turning point in the way future fires were addressed by governments, firefighting agencies and the insurance industry. “We learned that many of the homes were underinsured, and so began our journey into wildfire management,” Smart said. …B.C.’s Okanagan region deemed cedar shake panel roofs unsafe and banned them as a building material. Government bodies began to establish plans for evacuation routes and emergency centres, complete with the needed funding. …Glenn McGillivray, managing director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR), said ICLR is pushing to make the National Research Council of Canada (NRC)’s National Guide for Wildland-Urban Interface Fires into a wildfire building code, McGillivray notes.

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