“There’s water dripping from the ceiling” exclaimed my wife Kathie as we lay in bed at 4:00 a.m. recently. I thought she was reporting a crazy dream to me which is sometimes the case, but no, there was indeed water dripping from the ceiling next to our bed, actually a steady stream of clear refreshing liquid love coming from the kitchen sink directly above our bedroom on the upper level of our lovely condo on the hill in our little town of Summerland.
Like firefighters responding to an alarm, we quickly roused ourselves and commenced a very early morning investigation. Lo and behold, a kitchen faucet assembly had malfunctioned. Kathie had briefly risen an hour earlier when all was well–an hour later things were not so good—a pipe or hose or tap had ruptured. Thank goodness we caught it as there was considerable water damage in the ceiling between the kitchen and the master bedroom.
Restoration is now well in hand and we are confident that the condo will be restored to its previous glory.
Thank goodness for property insurance, for as I told the adjuster, this is not our first water rodeo. While living in Kamloops we had an earlier incident of water damage which also led to asbestos remediation and eventually a basement redecoration. Earlier still, a broken water heater flooded part of our Colwood basement home. There are times when the poetic words “Water, water everywhere” are most unwelcome. Other residential insurance coverage included replacement of items associated with two burglaries and a bike stolen from the back yard also in Colwood. At another time, a wind storm took a patio umbrella over the house until a second blast threw it through the kitchen window. There have also been bicycle thefts, the first in the mid-1970s from a downtown Victoria church parking lot. (We didn’t even lock bikes in those days.) More recently in Kamloops a very nice e-bike was stolen from inside our garage out of sight—we now know that when you see someone sitting alone in a vehicle for an hour or so outside your home that someone is identifying potential targets.
Now let’s think about car insurance claims. We totaled our lovely almost-new Toyota Prius a few years back en route to Tofino on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. There were no injuries except to our lovely car. We ended up with a lesser vehicle but we were safe. Speaking of safety, there’s health insurance. (I am especially aware of this anytime I travel outside Canada.) Closer to home, I remain grateful for work-related extended health plans which have supported me through three lengthy depressions. Lots of negotiations required for these—depression care is still complicated to financially manage—much depends on who is on the other end of the phone or email line. At one point a case manager admitted to me that “we are not in great shape ourselves right now.” Gosh! Imagine depression care management and planning right now. Yikes. In BC and nationally, many folks do not appreciate the gift of so-called universal health care–a gift that will erode quickly if we don’t defend its retention. Pharmacare is also expanding as long as the current agreement between parties in the current Canadian parliament continues. Then there’s travel insurance and luggage replacement cost protection—I have used both in recent years. In a rare moment of caution I once purchased travel cancellation insurance for a trip to Ethiopia for a conference that was cancelled. Good move. I usually resist such additional costs.
As the above data suggests, insurance coverage and benefits have been a larger part of my financial and social life than I imagined. I am possibly the first to say that Canadians are over-insured—I don’t need to insure everything–As I write I cannot think of anything that is not covered by any form or insurance and contingency preparation—except possibly childbirth. The insurance industry is massive and motivated to provide services. Look at the money and wealth involved. Of its $223.9 BILLION in total assets, the Canadian Property and Casualty insurance industry had $124.3 billion in invested assets in 2021. In 2021, Canadian P&C insurers paid out $37.9 billion in claims. The costs of subscription are significant. (I acknowledge my privilege in my ability to purchase such protection.) I am also well aware that the industry is conservative—While it does serve its customers its corporate shareholders are equally if not excessively protected. Through intensive and sophisticated data collection process insurance companies hold most of the cards.
It is noteworthy that insurance companies worldwide were amongst the first corporate entities to take Climate Change and Climate Crisis seriously. They know what is happening environmentally and plan carefully to mitigate their risks and remain capable of providing service. The insurance industry must also adapt operations to meet present demands. Take the example of the rebuilding of the Village of Lytton in the BC interior. Flattened by devastating fire two years ago rebuilding is held up by provincial archeological investigation, work which coincides adversely with the schedule of insurance claims. Folks who MUST file detailed claims by June 2023 cannot yet access their property to determine the extent and detail of damage. What a complicated mess.
At the ripe age of 65 I draw both my Canada pension and Old Age Security (a different word for insurance or guarantee). Joined with my work-related pension and modest investments, such income allows me to live a comfortable retired life with flexibility to meet the cost of emergencies or special circumstances, at least for now. Who knows what long term care might require or cost in the future. I am very fortunate; many are not so lucky. There is no such thing as a totally secure future, fiscally or otherwise. The quality of life envied by most requires the ability to live and cope within certain limits. It requires the ability to adapt as necessary. For persons of faith, the principle of divine providence helps to sustain hope even in the darkest and most challenging of times. As the liturgical psalms typically end, “as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be . . .” The future is ours, even when indistinct and unpredictable. As my arthritis doctor keep telling me, keep moving, one step at a time.
WOW… so sorry to hear about the water damage! But hey… you guys and bursting pipes. GO figure… Gad you’re OK and things are being taken care of.
Good write up!
Ken : )
Ken Faulks – Visual Artist SFCA CSPWC
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Most things in life, we can find the good and the not so good. We really do have it good when it comes to our medical insurance and other insurances that our available. Of course the best insurance of all is our faith in responding to and handling all of life’s interesting challenges!
We have always paid for insurance but seldom had to claim for losses, however we still count this as a good investment as we can be comforted that we are not at risk.
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How many times do you hear after a fire, the occupants were not insured? There is a huge difference between tenant insurance and condo insurance for an owner! Make sure your agent is qualified to quote your policy!
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