First the floods, now a cyclone

Right after the Australian floods, which for the record were the second set of devastating floods in the country this past year, Queensland got hit again, with Cyclone Yasi.  Damage is estimated in the billions, and already some independent firms sending staff from Canada to Queensland to assist.  The overall damages, coupled with flooding damages, will be in the tens of billions of dollars, and it will be quite some time to sort out.  How might this affect the re-insurance market?  With the North American storm season about half a year away, how will this affect insurers here?  Will foreign-controlled insurers be getting different direction on storm strategy?

Much like wondering about our earthquake preparedness, this makes me wonder a lot about how Canada is set up to handle multiple catastrophes.  I know from my experience that many companies do not handle that level of crisis well, and neither do the partners that they bring in to help them.  It takes a long time to get things up and running, to have a process in place.  While there are detailed CAT plan documents, there is no rehersal, there is no practice session.  You go from the plan to drinking from the firehose immediately.  If we stumble as an industry in the first storm event, how will we do when the second hits 2 weeks later?  Repeat hailstorms in Alberta show that we don’t respond very well – and that’s where the damage is homogenous.  The flooding and the cyclone are two drastically different events with two drastically different sets of challenges – how would we fare?  I would be interested to know your thoughts.

PS – This coming week I will be at the CICMA/CIAA joint conference and events, along with the OIAA Claims Conference Tradeshow.  Feel free to stop by the FirstOnSite  Restorations booth and say hello!

Insurance is my profession, and one of my passions. Motorcyclist, runner, skier, photography newbie. Nerdy tech geek, craft beer enthusiast. Thoughts are my own. Snark is omni-present.

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