Shop Insurance Canada Highlights ICLR Report: Why Some Fort McMurray Properties Survived
October 01, 2016 Business News(PRLEAP.COM) October 1, 2016 - The May wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta was the costliest insurance loss in Canadian history, costing $4.5 million. As well as the initial cost on the industry, consumers are expected to take the brunt of the cost with increasing home insurance premiums. Shop Insurance Canada points out an ICLR report that explains why some homes survived and others were destroyed.
Despite this, the wildfire was a highlight for how important it is for homeowners to have their properties insured. Nearly 3000 properties were lost and insurance against loss was the only saving grace for many homeowners.
However, many properties escaped intact, even if they were amidst the raging heat of the fire. Some homes remained standing when others around them were decimated. The obvious question is, why?
Simply put, those homes were more resistant to ignition from embers, according to a preliminary report from the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR). The report shows that homes surviving in such natural disaster events is not about luck, but more about construction choices and location.
"Whether a home is destroyed by an interface wildfire or not greatly depends on conditions immediately around the structure, the area for which homeowners are responsible," says ICLR. Direct contact from flames was not a main cause for many home losses, instead "wind-driven embers were the most probable cause for the majority of early home ignitions in the areas where the fire made its transition from forest into urban neighborhoods," notes the ICLR statement.
"Once established, the fire would have spread from structure to structure as an urban conflagration, accounting for the majority of home losses," the report adds.
The Toronto non-profit continues: "communities are lost when embers ignite fuel immediately surrounding or on structures. Once a few structures ignite, then building-to-building spread leads to an urban conflagration, as we experienced in Fort McMurray," says Glenn McGillivray, managing director of ICLR.
Shop Insurance Canada adds that this shows that developers need to reassess how they build properties in areas at risk of fire, flood, and other climate events. The insurance expert says home insurance premiums will rise because of Fort McMurray and homeowner may show more scrutiny when purchasing properties.
"If developers keep building in high risk areas and properties continue to be damaged, homeowners face an increase in their premiums. Consumers may become wise to poor construction location and build materials."
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