Insurance Industry Not Prepared for Montreal Quake | Canadian Insurance

Insurance Industry Not Prepared for Montreal Quake

CRU Adjusters symposium warns industry that Vancouver is not the only quake target

While most earthquake discussions in Canada focus on “The Big One,” CRU Adjusters is warning the insurance industry about smaller, more likely but still destructive quakes—and that Vancouver is not the only target.

At the fourth Canadian Earthquake Symposium, speakers told an audience of insurance executives that the industry just isn’t prepared for the too-likely event of a quake in a risk-prone city like Montreal or Ottawa.

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“Preparedness is not a talking point, but a necessity,” Kyle Winston, president of CRU said.

Montreal—a densely populated city with countless old, stone buildings sitting on soft ground—is “squarely in second place” in terms of likely quake damage, says Kristy Tiampo, a professor at University of Western Ontario. And while B.C. has some good measures in place to get information out quickly after a quake, “Montreal worries me a lot more.”

“It’ll take a while to acquire information on landslides, roads that are down, the number of people that need rescued. It’s simply not there. It’s not really ready.”

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The insurance industry isn’t ready either, by its own admission. Insurance consultant Carol Jardine asked the executives in the room how ready their companies were for an earthquake in Montreal, on a scale of one to 10. The room settled around 5.

“What are our customers or your insureds thinking about when they’re buying earthquake coverage? ‘When it happens, man, my insurance company’s gonna be there for me.’ And if we’re only at a 5, shame on us.”

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