White Rock Lake wildfire estimated to have caused $77 million in insured damages

Fire's $77M insurance hit

The White Rock Lake wildfire that scorched a broad swath of the Southern Interior this summer and destroyed dozens of homes is estimated to have caused $77 million in insured damages.

In a post on the Insurance Bureau of Canada website, vice-president Aaron Sutherland says more than 800 insurance claims are expected from the fire.

The majority of claims are related to residential properties, according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.

"Canada's insurers are here to help the residents of Killiney Beach, Monte Lake and other areas impacted by the White Rock Lake wildfire recover and rebuild following the devastation it has caused," Sutherland said in the statement.

"Anyone who has been impacted by this event, or has questions about their home, vehicle or business insurance, should call their insurance representative or IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC."

The IBC the wildfires that devastated British Columbia this summer and "are a tragic reminder of the increasing risk facing communities across the province, and country, from a changing climate. As our climate changes, the frequency and severity of weather events like wildfire are increasing, as are the financial costs borne by insurers and taxpayers."

The bureau says governments at all levels must do more to protect communities.

"As we continue to see the increasing impacts of our changing climate, it's clear much more must be done to create a culture of preparedness and build our resiliency to the risks we face," said Sutherland.

"We all must do better to prepare for wildfires, floods, heat, hail and windstorms. These perils are having an outsized impact on those most vulnerable and, as a result, we must greatly enhance our efforts to mitigate future change and adapt to the new weather reality we face."

The White Rock Lake fire burned more than 83,000 hectares, destroying structures on the west shore of Okanagan Lake and in Monte Lake.

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