Report urges flood insurance for Canadian homeowners

A report by an independent insurance research body says Canada is out of step with other developed countries because homeowners can't purchase flood insurance.

Insurance providers could bundle flood insurance with other risks: report

Spring flooding in Saskatchewan has left many homeowners with major damage. (CBC)

A report by an independent insurance research body says Canada is out of step with other developed countries because homeowners cannot purchase flood insurance.

 "Canada is the only G8 country where flood insurance is not available to homeowners," Paul Kovacs, the executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, said in a news release Thursday.

"With other forms of water-damage being covered, such as sewer backup and burst pipes, and with commercial entities being able to purchase flood insurance, the coverage void tends to confuse — even anger — homeowners when they discover that they are not covered after a flood event," he added.

The report found that when there are catastrophic floods, governments end up providing disaster aid to homeowners.

"Flood insurance has many advantages over government relief programs," the report said.

For starters, it said an insurance program would encourage flood prevention measures by homeowners who would face higher premiums for not reducing their risk.

"Also, insurance companies have well established methods for assessing and paying claims, which can result in faster recovery," the report said.

The report also addressed how to overcome an identified problem with offering flood insurance: very few people choose to select such coverage.

The institute said coverage could be "bundled" with other risks, such as fire and theft.

"The bundling approach has been in place in the U.K. for the past fifty years and ... is the best-suited model for Canada," the report concluded.

People in Saskatchewan and Manitoba have been on alert for the past two weeks due to flooding in many areas.