Some Sask. homeowners will be able buy overland flood insurance

Water damage is now the number one driver of insurance claims, and until now the only coverage was for sewer backup.

According to the Canadian Insurance Bureau 90 per cent of Canadian home owners will be eligible

Mitch Stefan posted drone footage of the Estevan flooding to his Facebook page in 2016. (Mitch Stefan/Facebook)

Insurers will be offering new overland flooding insurance packages to Saskatchewan homeowners — some conditions apply.

Saskatchewan has been no stranger to heavy spring runoff and province-wide flooding, and according to Aaron Sutherland, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, this is a sign of things to come.

"As our climate has changed we're seeing more and more extreme weather events happening more and more often, so insurers are adapting to what we call the new weather reality," said Sutherland.

Sutherland says not everyone is eligible. But 90 per cent of Canadian homeowners are, according to the Insurance Bureau. Those at highest risk would not be eligible.

"Insurance is for unforeseen and unpredictable risks. But if you live right in the river valley, beside the creek that is known to overflow year after year, well that's a more predictable risk," said Sutherland.

For customers that would not be able to receive coverage Sutherland said the Bureau is working with all levels of government to create a public-private partnership that would be able to offer some assistance.

Sutherland said the move to cover overland flooding claims came after water-related damages grew from a few $100 million to $1 billion or more annually since 2015. Water damages are now the number one source of insurance claims in Canada.

"When you think about the province being just over 3 per cent of Canada's population, it actually accounts for over 10 per cent of the insured loses," said Sutherland, referring to water-damage related claims. "You're certainly punching above your weight class."

With files from the Afternoon Edition