Essex-Windsor MPP Taras Natyshak has had enough of his constituents getting doused by insurance companies in their flood-ridden region. The NDP representative has proposed a bill that would put an end to the loopholes that insurers have repeatedly used to avoid covering flood claims, an issue that was thrust into the spotlight after the terrible damage the region experienced this past summer.
"Anytime a state of emergency is called due to flooding it would prohibit cancelling a homeowner's policy [afterward]," Natyshak said. "A lot of folks who made a claim after [the August storm] were being told they were going to be cut off afterwards and not insurable, so they had to think twice about the claim.
"Others had their policy changed [two years ago] after the first flood and were not aware they were no longer covered [for flood damage]."
Insurance cannot serve its purpose if the companies who provide it are stealthily changing rules and agreements under their clients' noses. Natyshak's bill would go a long way towards changing that. In addition to the state of emergency provision, it would also require the recovery assistance program to provide universal sewer backups (as opposed to just the low-income individuals it exclusively protects at present), for rain barrels or rain retention basins (that are connected to downspouts) to be installed on all new housing units, and for public disclosure of the Habitation Information Tracking System which would provide transparency on all of a home's past insurance claims.
"We have to do something," said Natyshak. "It might not be attractive, but the alternative with the storms we are having today is instead of spending $100 on a rain barrel, municipalities upgrade their entire infrastructure system for tens of millions of dollars."