Canadian ICMIF member the Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company (Wawanesa) has partnered with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and collaborated with FireSmart™ Canada to offer a new community wildfire prevention grant. Wawanesa and ICLR will make available six grants of up to CAD 15,000 each to help communities across Canada increase their resilience to wildfire through prevention and mitigation activities.
“Climate change is here and one of the most destructive implications is the increased threat of wildfires,” said Carol Jardine, President of Canadian P&C Operations for Wawanesa. “As a Canadian owned and operated mutual company, we want to help communities across Canada improve their climate resilience and protect themselves, their homes and their businesses. That’s why we are working with experts at ICLR and FireSmart Canada to reduce the risk of wildfires and help make communities across Canada safer and more resilient.”
These grants will support prevention, mitigation, and preparedness activities aligned with FireSmart Canada’s seven disciplines:
- Emergency planning
- Vegetation management
- Interagency cooperation
- Cross training
“From 2008 to 2021, wildfires have cost Canadian insurers more than CAD 4.6 billion, with over 87,000 claims filed. This represents only a portion of the overall costs caused by wildland fires, as uninsured public infrastructure is damaged, lives are disrupted, and individual health – both physical and mental – is affected,” said Paul Kovacs, Executive Director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.
“Wawanesa’s leadership in supporting grants targeted at preventing and mitigating the impacts of wildfires will help communities increase their resilience to this increasingly prevalent peril, serve as learning opportunities for other communities wishing to take action, and reduce the immense personal toll wildfires have on people and businesses across our country.”
“FireSmart Canada is happy to provide support for and input towards Wawanesa’s Community Wildfire Prevention Grants,” said Ray Ault, Director of FireSmart Canada. “This is an important initiative that will help Canadians increase their wildfire resilience.”
Grant applications must be received before 1 December 2022 at 12pm CST and will be evaluated by a committee of wildfire prevention subject matter experts from Wawanesa, ICLR, and FireSmart Canada. Grant recipients will be announced on 1 March 2023.
Interested community groups can visit the programme webpage for project eligibility and application criteria at wawanesa.com/wildfire-grants. Communities across Canada are now welcome to apply.
Other case studies on risk prevention from ICMIF members
In November 2019, ICMIF and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) began a multi-year collaboration to help address the urgent challenge of reducing disaster risks. The result of this bore a report, From protection to prevention: The role of cooperative and mutual insurance in disaster risk reduction, that identified what is needed in practical terms to enable a shift within the insurance industry from a focus on providing risk transfer products and services as a means to protect the insured from disaster risks, to an emphasis on prevention through disaster risk reduction incentives, awareness, capacity and financing. Building on this, ICMIF has now created a resilience case study hub, with the aim to showcase the multitude of risk reduction stories from mutuals around the world.