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Hurricane Fiona: One Year Later

Sep 22, 2023 | By: Graham Little, Interim Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC
Hurricane Fiona: One Year Later Insights Article Image

At this time last year, I, like millions of residents across Atlantic Canada, was preparing for what would become this region’s most severe weather event ever recorded. The wrath of Hurricane Fiona caused millions of dollars in insured and uninsured damage and now ranks as one of the most costly storms in Canadian history. Clean up, rebuilding and recovery continues to this very day.

I vividly remember the media coverage of homes along the coast washed into the ocean, properties completely flooded, roofs torn off homes and businesses and of course, the incredible amount of debris from downed trees and power lines. Hurricane Fiona left an incredible human impact on our region – the loss of life, along with the destruction of homes and businesses undoubtedly changed some communities forever.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season to potentially be one of the worst on record. Thankfully, Hurricane Lee didn’t cause widespread damage, but it has been an extremely difficult year for many people who were impacted by intense flash flooding in July and the devastating wildfires in May.

Unfortunately, the severe weather we’ve experienced in Atlantic Canada in 2022 and 2023 has meant more and more damage to homes, vehicles and businesses. The emotional turmoil and financial consequences of these events continues to impact the lives of many in our region.

Since Hurricane Fiona first made landfall in September 2022, Canada’s insurers have been working diligently to sort out and settle claims. The industry acknowledges and sympathizes with the frustrations some residents are still experiencing with recovery timelines in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona.

After a large-scale disaster like this, it is not uncommon for a full replacement to take 18 months or more. The more structural damage a property has suffered, the more difficult repairs or replacement will be and the higher the costs will be.

Rest assured, insurers are working hard to look after customers, even as the region continues to be hit with more severe weather events. Insurers want to resolve claims in a timely and efficient manner and work is often happening behind the scenes on an individual claim. Nobody wins when there are delays in facilitating claims. Anyone still facing a delay with their claims are encouraged to reach out to their insurance representative to ask questions. They are on your side and there to help.

Another tool that is available to all policyholders is the internal dispute resolution process that all licensed insurers also have. Ask your insurance representative for the customer ombudsman’s contact information.

If you have a complaint about an open claim, we recommend the following tips:

  • Clearly state your concern and expectations;

  • Have all pertinent information and documentation available;

  • Allow time for your insurer to investigate and answer your complaint; and

  • Make sure you keep a record of the people you talked to and what was said.

Lastly, anyone who has general insurance questions are encouraged to call IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC. We’re here to help.

About This Author

Graham Little is the Interim Vice President for IBC’s Atlantic region.

Graham has spent his career advising, managing and navigating projects and priorities in both the private and public sectors. After more than a decade working for New Brunswick’s provincial government holding roles both within the Legislative Assembly and the Office of the Premier, Graham developed a keen interest in public policy and the mechanics of government. After leaving government, Graham went on to provide government relations support to a large east coast energy provider. At IBC, Graham provides advocacy support across the Atlantic region to strengthen the property and casualty insurance industry and ensure a healthy and sustainable market for consumers.