Should homeowners face less premiums if they waterproof or climateproof?

Lots of action right now on insurance companies and disasters and costs with reports out from Munich Re and Swiss Re – it must be the time when lots of stats from the season just passed are reported.  Canadian underwriter has also just published a blog post at where they push for the fact that if homeowners take efforts and spend money to water proof their homes that they should get a break on their insurance.

From this post as well there is a point made that the City of Toronto is paying about $14,000 per home to upgrade infrastructure in about 100 neighborhoods.  A municipal risk assessment tool has also been developed to help municipalities assess ( infrastructure at risk. The question is would you expect the same allowance for climate impacts if a consumer was making their home more climate friendly – of course that is more complicated – how does a consumer make their home more climate friendly – does putting on solar panels count, what about more energy-efficient, passive solar design etc…lots of those the individual insurance company may not care about, but if you build your house to withstand the tornado or local flooding, then the logic of this article would apply.

Vancouver – adaptation strategy

The City of Vancouver is the first major Canadian City to issue and adopt a climate change adaptation strategy. They have built their strategy on the ICLE planning framework and done a significant amount of work leading up to this.  The history of what they have done is in this document.

Excerpts include

October 1990: Council adopted recommendations in the Clouds of Change report by the Task Force on Atmospheric Change. Recommendation #33 is to study adaptive measures and begin planning long-term measure to adapt to possible consequences of atmospheric change.

March 15, 2005: Council approved the Corporate and Community Climate Change Action Plans detailing goals and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Background recommendations came from the Cool Vancouver Task Force which was established by Council in 2003.

March 1, 2007: City Council directed staff to examine potential impacts of climate change on City of Vancouver infrastructure and identify measures to minimize these impacts.

May 27, 2008: Council received an informational report on climate change adaptation that recommended completion of a vulnerability and risk assessment to prioritize adaptation work. The report included climate projections and identified early issues and opportunities (sewers, parks and urban landscape, the water utility and roadways).

July 12, 2011: The Greenest City Action Plan was adopted by Council. A strategy under the Climate Leadership goal directs staff to report to council with an adaptation plan including action recommendations.

In this document, the City of Vancouver has also summarized what issues they expect to be dealing with from climate change impacts including increased intensity and frequency of heavy rain events and sea level rise.  They have proceeded identify the priority impacts and the priority actions. Two examples of priority actions that have been identified include encouraging faster separation of private side combined sewer connections in areas where City sewer separation is completed or underway and continue to incorporate best available climate projections in sewer and street design.

I believe the city of Victoria also released an adaptation strategy right around the same time and I will post on that soon as well.