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Wildfire insurance claim deadline extended

Sign welcoming residents upon re-entry after a 6 week evacuation due to wildfire. Nicole Hemeon Photography.

Two years after the Horse River wildfire, government and the insurance industry continue to work together to ensure no resident is left behind.

“Fort McMurray’s recovery remains a priority for the Government of Alberta, and we continue to support the region with a focus on occupational health and safety, consumer protection, flood and fire mitigation, and overall health and wellness for residents,” said Shaye Anderson, Minister of Municipal Affairs.

The Insurance Act set out a two-year deadline for property claims to be settled.  All insurance companies have been granting extensions on a case-by case basis, some up to 12 months. Residents who were unable to get an extension have filed a court action to preserve their legal rights.

Those who have not gotten an extension on their claim or started a court action, are encouraged to contact the Superintendent of Insurance for more information via email tbf.insurance@gov.ab.ca or by calling 780-643-2237, or toll-free at 310-0000 and then dial 780-643-2237.

“For the many residents who still face complex challenges with open insurance claims, this is a positive step and I thank the Government of Alberta for their support,” said Mayor Don Scott.

“I encourage anyone with an outstanding insurance claim to contact their insurance company immediately to find out if they are willing to provide an extension, and if they experience any difficulty, they should contact Alberta’s Superintendent of Insurance. I would also encourage them to contact a lawyer about filing a statement of claim to preserve their rights.” 

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), as of May 10, 2018, 97 per cent of the residential insurance claims resulting from the wildfire have been settled. This means about 900 residential claims remain unresolved, of which 85 per cent have received an extension.

Insurance companies are expected to pay out $3.7 billion to Wood Buffalo policyholders as a result of the wildfire. In all, there were 25,499 residential property claims, 4,151 commercial claims and 14,444 automobile claims filed.