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Forcasting Fort McMurray's Fire

Forcasting Disaster

By Ben Naroditski  •  My Insurance Broker
June 18, 2016  •  3 minute read

The Fort McMurray wildfire in Alberta continues to ravage the small town of Fort McMurray. The fire leaves in its midst a financial and environmental scar, not only on the local community, but the entire country; even affecting our neighbor to the south. The total extent of the damage is yet to be determined. Flames are moving across provincial borders, including Saskatchewan; and heavy smoke is billowing as far south as the U.S. Additionally, sporadic sightings of smoke have been reported as far as Quebec.

With the extensive damage surrounding Fort McMurray, the town’s citizens are quickly scrambling for insurance claims, with most, if not all of the town’s residents and business owners insured against fire damage.

A helicopter drops water on a wildfire in an attempt to extinguish or at least control the spread of the flames.

Multiple media sources report that the initial insurance payout costs might accumulate to approximately CAD $9 billion if everything needs to be reconstructed; exceeding the costs of the January 1998 North American Ice Storm ($1.9 billion), 2011 Slave Lake forest fire ($750 million), and the 2013 Alberta floods ($1.8 billion) (Evans, 2016).

Analysts further assert that, based on Canada’s 2016 Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which is currently pegged at $US 1.8 trillion, about 10% of the U.S.’s GDP, relatively speaking, the wildfire’s financial impact might surpass that of Hurricane Katrina, the category 5 storm that struck New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S., which cost $US 60.5 billion (Orr, 2016).

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The impact of the disaster is unclear but experts believe that insurance rates are expected to rise after the wildfire, particularly for those who live in vulnerable areas like dry forests or other high risk regions prone to wildfire (Gollom, 2016). However, competition in Alberta is set to balance out insurance rates in the long run.

Insurance providers for Fort McMurray such as Intact Insurance and Aviva Insurance have set up mobile units and are currently on location in Lac La Biche, a community close to Fort McMurray, to begin taking claims and help those affected by the wildfire.

Satellite images of the fire at day (May 3, 2016) overnight (May 5, 2016), and the area the smoke is affecting (fire in yellow circle). Image Source

My Insurance Broker has donated approximately CAD $5,000 for the recovery effort in Fort McMurray. On behalf of My Insurance Broker and Canadians alike we would like to thank all those who’ve donated their time and resources to help bring to relief to those effected by the wildfire.

My Insurance Broker is a proud partner of Intact Insurance and Aviva Insurance.

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