“The Fort McMurray wildfire is one of the most horrific and damaging disasters in Canadian history.” – Bill Adams, Insurance Bureau of Canada Vice-President
The wildfires in Fort McMurray had a devastating impact on the lives of Albertans. This was a disaster that ultimately caused the largest evacuation in the history of Alberta, and displaced more than 80,000 residents from their homes for more than a month. What’s more, the damage and memories that remain will have a lasting effect on the community of Fort McMurray.
Those memories aren’t all bad though– in the wake of this tragedy, we witnessed our country come together to help our fellow Albertans get back on their feet. The response was one that all Canadians should be proud of, with an outpouring of donations, housing, clothing, and humanity.
As a proud Canadian company we did the same, because events like these are what we are built for: to help people, businesses and society prosper in good times and be resilient in bad times. From coast to coast, we worked together to be there for our customers when they needed us most.
“I am very proud of the energy and willingness of all our employees to help our clients in these situations, and mostly by their desire to help,” said Patrick Barbeau, Senior Vice President, Claims.
A response we can be proud of.
Within hours of the news, we mobilized our teams to set up at evacuation centres throughout the province to answer questions, start claims, and provide financial relief to our customers. “There were a lot of mixed emotions and confusion, and sometimes the help a customer needs is not insurance related at all – it’s just about being there to listen,” added Julie Lewis, Regional Business Development Manager, Northern Alberta.
From our experience, we understand that uncertainty causes a significant amount of stress for customers – knowing they had heavy hearts and a lot on their mind, we proactively contacted our customers to offer them financial support and provide them with answers. For a lot of them, we knew that the reality of their situation would not be fully realized until much later, and made arrangements to offer customers a free, confidential counselling service, should they need it.
We were on the ground.
Before we were even permitted to go back into Fort McMurray, we used state-of-the-art technology called geo-mapping to get a clear picture of which customers were hit the hardest; this allowed us to prepare an agile response that paralleled the unprecedented nature of this event.
We also worked closely with the Alberta Emergency Services Agency and the Insurance Bureau of Canada to ensure we were on site for customers as they returned home, yet not detract from the resources available to them. In the weeks that directly followed the repopulation of Fort McMurray, customers were greeted at the Intact Centre by a team of more than 65 employees who were eager to walk them through the path to recovery.
We provided more than just insurance.
Everywhere across the country, Intact Insurance employees pitched in to help Alberta get back on its feet. Through volunteering, generous donations, and more, we helped our neighbours and friends. The Intact Foundation also donated $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross, and matched all employee donations to support the Fort McMurray relief efforts.
With disasters like this one, the road to recovery is never an easy one. But the Intact Insurance team is proud of its efforts to restore the lives of those affected by the wildfires, and the work that they continue to do in Fort McMurray.