Tsunami warning highlights Canada's earthquake risk

IBC spokespeople available to discuss economic impact and emergency preparedness

​January 23, 2018 (TORONTO) – Early this morning a magnitude 7.9 earthquake occurred off the coast of Alaska, 25 kilometres under water. At least three aftershocks have been reported.

A tsunami warning for the coast of British Columbia was issued but was later cancelled.  

Approximately 4,000 earthquakes are recorded in Canada each year. While most of them are too small to be felt, Natural Resources Canada estimates that there is a 30% chance of a significant earthquake hitting British Columbia in the next 50 years. Standard home insurance policies do not cover earthquake damage. However, earthquake coverage may be available as an add-on to those policies. While there is significant uptake of earthquake insurance across British Columbia, most of these add-on policies do not cover any type of flooding including tsunami.

A 2013 study by AIR Worldwide, commissioned by IBC, estimated the overall costs after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake in British Columbia at almost $75 billion. A magnitude 7.1 earthquake in the Quebec City – Montreal – Ottawa corridor would cost nearly $61 billion.

"Preparing Canada for an earthquake is a priority for Canada's property and casualty insurance industry. But we cannot do it alone," said Craig Stewart, Vice President, Federal Affairs, IBC. "The private sector, governments, communities, and all Canadians must work together to make sure we are prepared for an earthquake."

IBC spokespeople can speak on the current risks to Canada from an earthquake and what is covered under a typical home insurance policy.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $52 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau and like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.