As the wildfire that has eaten much of the city begins to move in a new direction, insurers are sending in teams.
On Sunday, the massive wildfire nicknamed “the beast” started to stabilize after causing catastrophic devastation in the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and insurance adjusters are now being deployed in mobile response units being flown in from across the country.
This will be the initial wave of experts who will start to assess the widespread damage to Fort McMurray.
The majority of insurers have natural disaster and crisis units of insurance adjusters that had already been deployed to the many different emergency centers that were established. Those teams of experts headed out when the 80,000 people were given their evacuation order as the fire forced them from their homes last Wednesday. In the nearby city of Edmonton, the Northlands evacuation center contains temporary claims offices from 16 different insurance companies. Farther north, the evacuation center in Lac la Biche has temporary claims offices from 10 different insurers. This, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada vice president for the western and pacific region, Bill Adams.
These temporary claims offices arrived ahead of the insurance adjusters to issue emergency checks to evacuees.
Adams explained that “Some didn’t have identification except what’s in their vehicles. They don’t have access to their bank accounts, they have to reapply for their basic information.” He added that “to be able to demonstrate with a vehicle registration that they are in fact who they are and to have funds given to them is a very emotional experience.”
The Intact Insurance company reported that it had a catastrophe team that was ready to work at any time of the year, all year round. It is among the insurers that had established a temporary claims center and did so “within hours” of the initial evacuation, said a spokesperson named Rosa Nelson. She explained that the insurer now has offices open at the Edmonton, Calgary and Lac la Biche emergency centers.
Even before the insurance adjusters were allowed back at Fort McMurray to assess the damages, the temporary officers have allowed evacuees to launch their claims filing processes and receive emergency checks of $5,000 at the same time.