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Spring has sprung—are you flood-smart?

2017-04-06 Press Releases

April 06, 2017 08:00 ET

TORONTO, ON -- (Marketwired - April 06, 2017) -- Spring has sprung after an unusual winter that saw more snow than ever in some parts of the country and a lot less snow than expected in others. This is Canada, after all. So it follows that given potentially wild temperature swings and precipitation, the spring season present serious flooding risks. There are, of course, many variables: the amount of snow accumulation and frost in the ground; the rate at which temperatures rise; the possibility of extreme rain activity on top of snow; the capacities of our sewer and stormwater infrastructures -- these and other factors ultimately determine what we experience.

According to Colin Robertson, Vice-President, Operations and Risk Control at Ecclesiastical Insurance, it's best to prepare for a worst-case scenario. "Damage caused by floodwater can be devastating and getting a property and organization back to normal can take a very long time," he says. To manage the risks and minimize the losses, Robertson urges everyone to be "flood-smart." That means having clearly defined Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and Crisis Communications Plans.

Ecclesiastical's Risk Control specialists advise customers to establish pre-flood protocols, among them:

  • Check your insurance coverage -- building and contents -- to confirm that you are covered for flooding and that the values declared have been reviewed and are up to date.
  • Prepare a contact tree -- identify who needs to be contacted, for what reason and when. Ensure that all persons on the contact tree have a copy and know their individual responsibilities.
  • Be prepared to turn off electrical power, as well as gas and water supplies. Mark all appropriate switches.
  • Secure structurally unstable building materials; move electronic equipment, important papers and valuables to a safe, "high and dry" location; make sure that data is backed up on a regular basis and that hazardous material is protected and safely stored.

Once floodwaters have subsided, there are some practical post-flood steps that will help mitigate further damage:

  • Make sure it is safe to enter your property. Watch for hidden dangers in floodwater such as sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollutants.
  • Wear waterproof outerwear -- gloves, boots and a facemask -- when cleaning up after a flood.
  • If the electricity supply is not already switched off at the main intake, get a qualified and licensed electrician to do this. Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in floodwater.
  • If using a pump or generator to get water out of your premises, position the generator outside. To reduce the risk of structural damage, only pump out when the flood levels outside the property are lower than inside.
  • If drying the property naturally, keep all doors and windows open as much as possible. If dehumidifiers are used, close windows and doors.
  • If you have suffered damage, contact your insurance broker, who will notify your insurer on your behalf.
  • When it comes to weather education and preparedness, Robertson is emphatic. "Climate change is a fact of life. We need to prepare for the consequences of unusual weather patterns. We need to be far more proactive."

    About Ecclesiastical Insurance

    Working with brokers across Canada, Ecclesiastical Insurance provides customized insurance solutions to faith communities, educational institutions, retirement facilities, unique and heritage properties, cultural institutions, funeral services providers, registered charities and nonprofit organizations, as well as select commercial enterprises. Owned by a charitable trust, Ecclesiastical is committed to protecting those who enrich the lives of others. For more information visit www.ecclesiastical.ca

    Contact Information

    For information about Ecclesiastical's specialized products or Risk Control services, please contact:

    Colin Robertson
    Vice President, Operations and Risk Control
    416-484-3984
    crobertson@eccles-ins.com