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Ceci clarifies: Blanket extension on all wildfire insurance claims

Workers put out markers around a devastated area of Timberlea in Fort McMurray Alta, on Thursday, June 2, 2016. The Insurance Bureau of Canada says damage caused by the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta., totalled $3.58 billion, making it the most expensive disaster for insurers in the country's history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson

Finance Minister Joe Ceci is clarifying that all residents needing an extension on their wildfire insurance claim, will receive one.

Ceci said in a statement on Wednesday that there has been some confusion and that there would be a blanket extension on all claims for an additional year.

“Our government has been in touch with every insurance company in Alberta and the vast majority have already agreed to grant these extensions voluntarily. We thank them for this,” said Ceci.

“Should a company choose not to grant this extension, our government is ready and prepared to amend the legislation to ensure residents are being treated fairly and given the additional year to resolve their claims or file legal action.”

The Insurance Act set out a two-year deadline to settle insurance claims regarding the 2016 Wildfire. With that deadline passing, insurance companies were granting case-by-case extensions or residents were required to file court action.

“We continue to monitor this situation very closely and if any residents are experiencing challenges with their insurance claims, they are encouraged to contact the Superintendent of Insurance, at tbf.insurance@gov.ab.ca or dial 310-0000 toll free in Alberta and then dial 780-643-2237,” said Ceci.

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.


-With files from Melanie Walsh