Ecclesiastical Insurance Office PLC

Ecclesiastical Insurance Office PLC

June 24, 2013 13:05 ET

Lessons From a Flood

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 24, 2013) - Calgary is reeling from the worst flooding in the Province's history and the worst is not yet over. Over 100,000 thousand people were evacuated from their homes, as were hundreds of elderly residents in retirement and care facilities. While many in Calgary have been given the OK to return home, residents in Medicine Hat are bracing for a potential disaster as they watch the water levels on the South Saskatchewan River.

There was little warning. The record-setting rainfall was unexpected and the ground was already saturated. As reported by the CBC, "combine that with areas that were still frozen not far below the surface and a local geography that encourages water to run down hill quickly, and there's a recipe for this week's devastation."

Colin Robertson, VP Risk Control at Ecclesiastical Insurance, points out that in an area primed for such problems, emergency preparedness is paramount. "The damage caused by flood water entering a property can be devastating. Getting back to normal can be a long and difficult process. When it comes to mitigating loss, having clearly defined Disaster Recovery, Business Continuity and Crisis Communications Plans is paramount."

To prepare for a flood, Ecclesiastical encourages customers to take a number of important steps, among them:

  • Check insurance coverage, both buildings and contents, to confirm that you are covered for flooding and that the values have been reviewed and are up to date.
  • Make sure that someone who has easy access to your property knows how to turn off gas, electricity and water main switches. Mark appropriate switches.
  • Prepare a contact tree - who needs to be contacted and for what. Make sure that everyone on the list has a copy.
  • Consider what items need to be moved out of your premises. If that is not an option, move items to an upper floor above the anticipated flood level.
  • Plug sinks, basins and baths and weigh plugs down with a sandbag or other heavy object.

Once floodwaters have subsided, there are some practical steps that will help mitigate further damage:

  • First check to make sure it is safe to enter your property. Use caution as there may be hidden dangers in floodwater - sharp objects, raised manhole covers and pollutants.
  • Wear waterproof outerwear -- gloves, boots and a facemask -- when cleaning up after a flood.
  • If your electricity supply is not already switched off at the main intake, get a qualified and licensed electrician to do this. Do not touch sources of electricity when standing in floodwater.
  • You can use a pump on generator to get water out of your premises. Position the generator outside and only pump out when the flood levels outside the property are lower than inside. This reduces the risk of structural damage.
  • Shovel any mud away from both sides of a wall, evenly. This also reduces the potential for pressure to build up and possible structural damage.
  • If drying the property naturally, keep all doors and windows open as much as possible. If dehumidifiers are used, close windows and doors.
  • If you have suffered damage, contact your insurance broker, who will notify your insurer on your behalf.

"In most cases," Robertson says, "your insurance company will send an independent loss adjuster to assess the damage and coordinate the cleanup process. The adjuster will confirm what repairs are needed and what is covered by your insurance policy."

About Ecclesiastical Insurance

Working with brokers across Canada, Ecclesiastical Insurance provides customized insurance solutions to faith communities, educational institutions, retirement facilities, unique and heritage properties, cultural institutions, funeral services providers, registered charities and nonprofit organizations, as well as select commercial enterprises. Owned by a charitable trust, Ecclesiastical is committed to protecting those who enrich the lives of others. For more information visit

Contact Information