Damage from June 13 hailstorm will qualify for provincial disaster relief funding: Kenney
CALGARY -- Damages from a June 13 hailstorm that heavily impacted homes, businesses and vehicles in parts of northeast Calgary, Airdrie and the surrounding area will qualify for funding through the provincial Disaster Recovery Program, Premier Jason Kenney said Thursday.
Siding was completely torn away from a number of homes and vehicles had windows smashed out in the communities of Falconridge and Taradale as well as the southwest corner of Airdrie.
Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged, said Kenney, and initial estimates peg the damage at between $250 million and $500 million. Much of that should be covered by private insurance, he added.
"We will expedite a package to help cover uninsurable loss and damages and costs incurred by the cities of Calgary, Airdrie, and Rocky View County," said Kenney, adding more than 35,000 claims have been filed.
"Recognizing that some damges are uninsured, we'll continue working with the mayor and council on community needs."
Applications for the provincial Disaster Recovery Program open June 29 and the deadline is Sept. 23.
Asked whether the province will help those who are out of work and can't afford the insurance deductable, Kenney said that would set the wrong precedent.
"I don't believe it would be responsible for us to have taxpayers bail out the big insurance companies," he said.
"If the government steps in and starts making payments for insurable private property, that would create a very serious moral hazard where people would, in the future, say they have no need to insure their property and it effectively would bail out the insurance companies.
"Why would they make good on their insurance policy obligations if the government is stepping in to do so instead, and I don't want to let the insurance companies off the hook."
Provincial opposition leader Rachel Notley also toured the areas last week and called for provincial relief.
Khalil Karabani lives in the north east community of Taradale.
He says his insurer told him it would cost $16,000 to repair his roof but would only pay 20 per cent of that because of depreciation on the structure.
The government aid package does not subsidize that gap.
"The insurance company are saying depreciation value, the premier says we are not here to bail out the insurance companies — so what does it mean? It means we are the losers in the end," said Karabani.
The province said 35,000 claims have been filed as a result of the storm and only 1 per cent aren’t being paid out.
However that one per cent doesn’t include claims that are only partially paid, such as Karabani’s.
He doesn't expect to see any of the emergency funding
He added that his neighbours, in similar situations, aren’t any more optimistic.
"The whole reason of getting insurance is to get covered in a situation like this and unfortunately for us right now, with me not working and my wife not working, for us to take out 10 or $12,000 — that’s something we don’t have right now."