07/25/2013 04:42 EDT | Updated 07/25/2013 05:23 EDT

Alberta Flood Insurable Losses Could Top $3 Billion, Says Redford


TORONTO - Premier Alison Redford has met with insurance companies and thanked those who have stepped up to help Albertans in need – adding that the entire tab for insurable losses could top $3 billion.

According to the Calgary Herald, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) pegs current losses around $1.3 billion, but Redford has said it is "absolutely" possible they could more than double in the coming months.

And despite the high figure, the news is positive when compared to initial loss estimates. A preliminary report just two days after flooding hit Alberta said losses could be in the realm of $3 billion to $5 billion.

Redford sat down with insurance companies this week while visiting Toronto, urging them to be as clear as possible with their customers.

“We expect them to be available to provide information to homeowners with respect to their policies, so that homeowners can make the decisions that they need to make,” she is quoted by the Herald as saying.

She says she told them the water may have receded after June's devastating floods, but life is "anything but back to normal."

She says the focus now is on rebuilding, and for many that means working with insurance companies to determine the extent of the damage and settling claims.

"In many ways, this unprecedented disaster has brought out the very best in people and organizations,'' Redford said in the release.

"That said, I know Albertans want clarity when they're trying to make decisions about the future of their homes and businesses."

"They need to assist Albertans in the most sensitive and helpful way possible."

IBC spokesperson Steve Kee told the Calgary Sun the meeting was very cordial.

"Premier Redford shared what she has (been) hearing from Albertans on the industry's response and we reaffirmed our commitment to the rebuild and working together to build more resilient communities to withstand future extreme weather events," he said.

"The insurance industry has been working collaboratively and supports the government's initiatives to help Albertans get back on their feet."

Some homeowners caught in the flood were surprised to find out their policies do not cover overland flooding.

Others were angry when their companies denied coverage for sewer backups because the companies said that damage was also the result of overland flooding.

However, some companies, including TD Insurance, AMA and RBC Insurance, later backed off that stance and said they will pay for sewer backup losses within the limits of individual policies.

With files from the Canadian Press

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