Intact Financial Corporation is projecting $570 million Cdn in pre-tax losses due to wildfires in 2023 Q3, the company announced Thursday.
Intact has a national Canadian P&C insurance market share of 18.7% based on $12.6 billion of net premiums written in 2022, according to MSA Research figures published in Canadian Underwriter’s 2023 Stats Guide.
DBRS Morningstar predicted Canada’s entire P&C insurance industry could be paying insured losses due to wildfires in the range of $700 million Cdn to $1.5 billion Cdn.
“The very challenging wildfire season in Canada has the potential to further pressure Q3 2023 results of P&C insurers, especially if the fires affect densely populated regions, economic hubs, or key infrastructure,” the financial services firm observed.
“These are difficult times for our customers and their communities,” Intact Financial CEO Charles Brindamour stated in a public comment. “We are entirely focused on getting them back on track as quickly as possible.
“Our employees across Canada are supporting customers by providing confirmation of coverage and funding for additional living expenses and are on the ground where possible to offer assistance…. We have already started the claims process for many of our customers, and rebuilding efforts will begin in the affected communities over the coming days and weeks.”
Wildfire alerts are still in effect in West Kelowna, in a narrow band of land just north of the Okanagan Lake, according to B.C.’s online EmergencyMapBC. A large swath of land north of this area is still under an evacuation order due to the McDougall Creek wildfire.
B.C Wildfire has deemed two of the three fires in the province’s Central Okanagan region as held and under control, thanks to rain, cooler temperatures and lower winds. The McDougall Creek wildfire is still deemed out of control and about 13,712 hectares in size.
Related: Adjusters respond to Kelowna fires as burn tally grows
BC Hydro and B.C. Ministry of Transportation reported the McDougall Creek Wildfire caused significant damage to the electrical infrastructure in the area.
“BC Hydro has confirmed that about 27 kilometres of power lines, 359 poles and 66 pieces of other equipment will need to be replaced,” the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations Centre stated in a release.
The operations centre is scheduling escorted-entry neighbourhood bus visits for property owners who have sustained a total loss of their property as a result of the McDougall Creek Wildfire.
“Only those whose properties have sustained a total loss or properties damaged to the point they cannot be occupied at this time will be able to participate,” the operation centre said in a release. “The process is to ensure those that have received devastating news have the privacy, time, and space to be the first to see their properties.
“Bus visits are being offered to allow affected homeowners to access and view their property before issuing further evacuation order and alert rescindments for the broader neighbourhood.”
Owners of partially damaged homes are not eligible for the bus visits.
Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Community Assistance Mobile Pavilion (CAMP) has been onsite in West Kelowna since Aug. 20. It’s staffed with insurance professionals to field calls about insurance coverage from residents in the impacted communities.
Photo Credit: The McDougall Creek wildfire burns on the mountainside above houses in West Kelowna, B.C., Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck