Intact will start fireproofing houses

Property insurer Intact is launching a pilot program to reduce wildfire damage to homes in Western Canada this year. 

Driving the news: Intact’s partner, Wildfire Defense Systems, will monitor wildfires in Alberta and B.C., and send a team to fireproof insured homes that are considered to be at risk. 

  • The move makes financial sense: Last year, Intact paid out over $1 billion in natural disaster claims after wildfires burned over 100,000 square kilometres across Canada. 
  • Measures include removing flammable objects like propane tanks or furniture, setting up sprinkler systems, and spraying chemicals that prevent or slow the spread of fire. 

Why it matters: Home insurance prices have been rising across the country because of the recent spike in natural disasters. Fireproofing homes, while imperfect, could give homeowners more protection and limit losses, potentially keeping prices in check.

  • One program in B.C. that offers ‘fire smart’ home audits is partnering with insurer BCAA to eventually offer discounts to homeowners who make preventative changes.  

Zoom out: Some experts say that an ongoing drought in Western Canada could lay the groundwork for an even worse wildfire season this summer than was seen last year.—LA