Truth and Reconciliation Day: September 30th

In June of 2021, the federal government announced a new annual statutory day to commemorate and honour the Indigenous lives that were lost, the survivors, and the families and communities who continue to grieve, as a result of the residential school system in Canada. This day is called Truth and Reconciliation Day.

 

Recognizing the historic tragedies and the ongoing trauma Indigenous communities face is an important and necessary step toward reconciliation. Truth and Reconciliation Day will be held annually on September 30th, and Normac will be observing this day henceforth.

 

As a progressive employer that is dedicated to recognizing and remembering these preventable atrocities, we are asking all our employees to take time today to acknowledge the tragic history of our country, and to educate themselves on the residential school system in Canada.

 

Included below are some resources regarding the history of residential schools, education on reconciliation, and the current struggles and traumas that effect Indigenous communities, which we encourage you to read, as well as some donation links to actively help these communities.

For CRISIS SUPPORT 24/7 call the KUU-US Crisis Line Society at 1-800-588-8717

Insurers Prepare for Increased Impacts of Climate Change

The alarming surge in natural disasters caused by global climate change has brought the average annual cost of claims for property damage to $2 billion, and insurers are preparing to offset losses by updating risk models. Between 2000 and 2009, we saw an annual increase of $400 million per year in claims. A report released by the United Nations this month predicts that by 2030, the world will be 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 Celsius mark is the level countries agreed to cap global warming at as per the 2015 Paris Accord. For 1.5°C of global warming, we can expect to see increasing heat waves, longer warm seasons, and shorter cold seasons.

 

This will inevitably result in more climate-related disasters.

 

Craig Stewart, Vice-President of federal affairs for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, states that the current climate crisis has caused “more frequent, but also more severe weather events.” According to Stewart, events such as flooding Eastern Canada, higher-intensity tornadoes, and wildfires “may have happened anyway, but they wouldn’t have been as intense as what we’re witnessing now.”

What has happened in the past decade?

As outlined in our blog post Reviewing Canada’s Catastrophic 2020, a series of major natural disasters last year caused property insurance rates to skyrocket. Most notably, it was reported that the Fort McMurray flooding and Calgary hailstorm cost insurers nearly $2 billion. In November of 2020, Ontario also experienced severe windstorms causing $87 million in insurable damages.

 

Since 2005, Canada has seen 9 out of the 10 most significant losses for property insurers in history, the only exception being the 1998 crystal ice storm that hit Quebec. The costliest natural disaster on record was in 2016 caused by the wildfires in Fort McMurray, resulting in nearly $4 billion in insured losses. 

 

With the average annual cost of claims now at $2 billion, it is estimated that uninsured losses will be double that amount. Stewart has noted that “data that’s driving underwriting decisions [are] now being updated to reflect that new risk. Reinsurers have lost billions of dollars in this country over the last decade… so they are upping their rates, insurers are paying more. And of course, that gets passed down in terms of increased premiums to customers.”

Insurers limit fossil fuel exposure
23 global insurance companies have adopted policies that end or limit insurance for the coal industry.

With increased global initiatives to move towards an eco-friendlier planet, insurers are limiting their exposure to the fossil fuels industry. Over the past three years, 23 global insurance companies have adopted policies that end or limit insurance for the coal industry, and 9 insurers have implemented the same strategy for the Canadian oilsands. In July of this year, eight of the world’s largest insurance companies – most notably Zurich Insurance Group, Aviva, and Swiss Re – have committed to a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions portfolio by 2050.

 

After increasing pressure from environmentalist groups, some insurers have refused to provide coverage to the Trans Mountain pipeline extension. To me, it illustrates a real shift in the sector,” said Mary Lovell, who leads insurance campaigns for the San Francisco-based environmental group Rainforest Action Network. “These insurers understand the reputational risk of being involved with a project as contentious as Trans Mountain, as well as the material risk of constructing a new pipeline during a climate crisis.” 

Strategic relocations

With some areas across Canada – specifically in Alberta, BC, and the Atlantic region – being more prone to natural disasters, we must consider the difficult decision of strategic relocation. A national emergency management strategy published in 2019 by the federal government outlined the federal and provincial priorities for assessing, preventing, preparing, and responding to disasters from now until 2030. The research has found that Canada is warming twice as fast as the global average, and three times as fast in the Northern regions. 

 

“If people are living in harm’s way, we either need to invest heavily to protect them to mitigate those communities that are at highest risk … or we need to move them,” Stewart said, noting that this could require a government buyout for properties located in risk-prone areas. Recently, the U.S. based real estate brokerage, Redfin, has announced that they will be including climate risk information on their home listings. The government of Canada had recently created a task force on flood insurance and relocation in November last year to protect homeowners who are at high risk of flooding and have difficulty obtaining adequate insurance

Ensure your assets are protected

Given the current market conditions, it is critical that your condo or strata corporation is adequately covered in the event of a total loss.  We have seen cases where properties have been underinsured, exposing themselves to unnecessary financial risk and liability.

 

At the same time, we have seen properties carrying excessive replacement costs and, as a result, paying too much for insurance.  Having an insurance appraisal done by experts trained in local construction costs ensures that you not only have sufficient coverage for your property, but that your premiums are accurate and in line with the market. 

Normac’s Annual BBQ – The Big Meet!

In August, the Normac team celebrated our Fiscal Year End with our annual Team BBQ! Continue reading to learn more about Normac’s dynamic company culture and exciting social events! 

Social Events at Normac

Normac is committed to cultivating an inclusive and fun company culture for everyone that works for us. Our team members are the heart and soul of our company, and we take pride in the monthly Social Events arranged by our Social Committee!  

 

The Normac Social Committee is a volunteer group of Normac team members who organize all of our Social EventsDuring the pandemic, we had the challenging task of organizing all virtual events for our team. Howeverthe transition was well received by our tight-knit team and these virtual events soon became something everyone looked forward to at the end of the week. The virtual games and events we organized ranged from Pictionary and Catch Phrase, to virtual Escape Rooms and Office Olympics! Now, as vaccination rates are on the rise and businesses start to re-open, we are excited to start organizing more in-person events for our team as provincial health direction allows.

  

Blue vs Green! The competitive spirit of our team members was in full swing during our Kickball game
The 2021 Normac BBQ

In August, as provincial health directives allowed, we were lucky enough to be able to throw an in-person, outdoor BBQ for our team! This was the first in-person social event that our team was able to organize in over a year.

 

Additionally, as we acquired Reliance Asset Consulting from Calgary back in June, this was the first time many of our team members met those who we now call the “Normac Calgary Team.” This was a much needed ice-breaker with the new team members, and the day was filled with laughter and great conversation. 

 

In order to ensure an extra level of safety, we ordered delicious individual takeout meals for each team member from Tacofino, enjoyed good music and games, and capped off the day with a game of Kickball. Our team is quite the competitive bunch, and this game was no exception! At the end of a tight game, the Blue team prevailed with a score of 13 points, to the Green team’s 10. Way to go, everyone! 

Hit me with your best shot!

Normac fosters an inclusive work environment that takes pride in incentivizing our team to always be the best they can be! We know the modern-day worker appreciates a flexible work-life balance, and we take that into account. With our in-office beer fridge, dogfriendly office, and monthly Social Events, we make working for Normac an enjoyable experience for everyone. 

The Normac Team

 

Interested in working for Normac? We’re hiring! Apply today for our Vancouver Office – Client Services Administrator position by emailing communications@normac.ca with your resume and cover letter.