May 26th, 2018

Hundreds of Fort McMurray insurance claims unresolved 2 years after wildfire

By The Canadian Press on May 16, 2018.

Burned-out houses are shown in the Abasands neighbourhood during a media tour of the fire-damaged city of Fort McMurray, Alta., in a May 9, 2016 file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – Some 900 insurance claims remain unresolved two years after a wildfire dubbed “The Beast” tore through the city of Fort McMurray and the surrounding area.

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.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says 97 per cent of claims have been settled.

It says 85 per cent of those that remain unresolved have been granted extensions by insurance companies.

There’s a two-year deadline for property claims to be settled, but insurers have been granting extensions on a case-by-case basis.

The total payout to policyholders is expected to be $3.7 billion, making the Fort McMurray wildfire the costliest natural disaster in Canadian history.

“I am very encouraged by the response from the insurance companies serving the residents of Wood Buffalo,” Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci said Wednesday.

“I commend these companies for their willingness to take a more flexible approach to helping those affected by this disaster.”

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