Hundreds of Fort McMurray insurance claims unresolved two years after wildfire

FORT MCMURRAY — Deadlines have been extended for hundreds of insurance claims that remain unresolved more than two years after a wildfire dubbed “The Beast” tore through Fort McMurray and surrounding areas in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.

“This is unprecedented, not just for the people of Wood Buffalo, but for our industry,” Bill Adams, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said Wednesday.

“We’ve never dealt with an event nearly of this magnitude.”

The ferocious fire in May 2016 consumed 10 per cent of the buildings in the northeastern Alberta city and forced 88,000 people from their homes for at least a month.

With $3.7 billion in insured damage, the bureau has pegged the fire as the costliest disaster in Canadian history.

Legislation sets out a two-year limit for insurance claims to be resolved, meaning the deadline for affected Wood Buffalo residents passed earlier this month.

Normally, that would be more than enough time, Adams said. But insurers had to be flexible in fire’s aftermath.

“Individual insurers recognize that given the magnitude of the rebuilding, it’s just physically not possible for all claims to be resolved within a two-year period,” he said.

As of May 10, 97 per cent of residential claims had been resolved. Some 900 are outstanding, but 85 per cent of those have been granted extensions — some by as much as a year.

The courts are another avenue for recourse, but Adams could not say how many people have had to resort to that option so far.

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said he was in Fort McMurray recently, where residents and the city’s mayor raised concerns about unsettled insurance claims.

“I heard loud and clear that our work in Wood Buffalo was not done,” he said.

Through the Superintendent of Insurance, the Alberta government urged insurers to allow more time for claims to be worked out.

“I’m pleased to report all insurance companies have answered our call,” Ceci said.

“I truly appreciate the commitment by insurance companies to extend the limitation period and I appreciate the support the insurance industry has provided to the people of Fort McMurray and Wood Buffalo since the very beginning.”

Just Posted

Councillors want to represent Red Deer at AUMA

City council approves endorsement

Cannabis smoke raises health concerns

Smoke Free Bylaw returns to Red Deer city council Sept. 4

Avid Penhold climber Catlin Hannah’s death a reminder of the dangers of scrambling

Hannah never returned from his Mount Smuts attempt on Aug. 12.

Children, elderly at risk as smoke from distant fires hangs over parts of B.C.

VANCOUVER — Thick smoke blanketing British Columbia communities far from any flames… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Police chiefs want new data-sharing treaty with U.S. as privacy questions linger

OTTAWA — Canada’s police chiefs are pressing the Trudeau government to sign… Continue reading

Pope on sex abuse: “We showed no care for the little ones”

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis issued a letter to Catholics around the… Continue reading

Ottawa announces $189M to extend employment insurance for seasonal workers

ESCUMINAC, N.B. — Ottawa has announced $189 million for an employment insurance… Continue reading

Trudeau formally announces he’ll run again in next year’s election

MONTREAL — Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.… Continue reading

Smoke from B.C. wildfires prompts air quality advisories across Western Canada

VANCOUVER — More smoky, hazy air is expected to blanket much of… Continue reading

Anti-pipeline protesters released days before weeklong jail sentences end

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Several pipeline protesters were released from a British… Continue reading

All eyes on Andrew Scheer as Conservative convention set for Halifax

OTTAWA — After a week of internal caucus squabbles, Conservative Leader Andrew… Continue reading

Trump says his White House counsel not a ‘RAT’ like Nixon’s

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — President Donald Trump insisted Sunday that his White House… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month