Québec, like British Columbia, is in a region at risk for earthquakes. Few people know that, or else they downplay the risks. A significant quake could have major consequences, impacting not only the population but also Québec’s economy.

To better prepare Québec and Quebecers, IBC has held preparedness activities among the population about earthquake risk and the steps to take to protect oneself. It also works with insurers, governments and other partners to improve the knowledge of risk and minimize the consequences.

Are you ready to deal with an earthquake?

Québec has experienced significant quakes in the past, five of which measured over six on the Richter scale. There is a 5-20% chance of a similar quake happening in the next 50 years, depending on the region where you live. Its impact would be devastating on a densely-populated region.

If the earth does start to quake...

If the earth does start to quake, three proven steps could help protect you and your family:

By doing this, you reduce the greatest risk, which is being hit by flying debris or something falling on top of you.

Earthquake insurance

Contrary to popular belief, your home insurance policy does not automatically cover damage caused by a quake. However, you can get coverage by adding an endorsement to your policy.

Damage resulting from an earthquake can be substantial, since it often affects a home’s foundation and actual structure. Take the time to get information to better understand the risk for you in your region, so that you can make an informed decision.

To find out more about earthquake insurance, go to Infoassurance.ca.

33% of Quebecers wrongly believe their basic home insurance policy covers them against this risk, whereas only 4% have the appropriate coverage.

Disastrous consequences for the Québec economy

Québec is not prepared to deal with an earthquake, despite the risk being very real.

In addition to the loss of life, the resulting economic losses would be enormous. Only 4% of policyholders have coverage for damage resulting from a quake. If a quake were to hit, non-insured losses would represent a heavy financial burden, not only for residents in the region affected but also for Quebec’s economy, and that of the whole country.

According to an Air Worldwide study, a magnitude seven quake in eastern Québec would cause losses of nearly $61 billion, of which $12 billion would be insured.

The P&C insurance industry is financially solid. Because of the regulations in effect, it maintains high capital reserve levels and manages its assets prudently so that it can pay out its clients’ claims should a quake occur.

IBC is also working with the federal government to ensure it can meet all contingencies. Discussions center around creating a financial mechanism that would ensure the industry’s stability, should a quake occur of a magnitude that exceeds projections. The objective is to have Canadians adequately insured and to enable the Canadian economy to pick up more easily after such an event.

IBC's priority: inform and create awareness

In a context were the risk is misunderstood or underestimated, IBC has been actively working for several years to create awareness among the population. It is also encouraging all levels of government to make earthquake preparedness a priority, and to participate in awareness activities among the population.

Sponsor of La Grande Secousse du Québec from the outset, IBC has been partnering with the Association de la sécurité civile du Québec to encourage families, schools, businesses and municipalities to participate in the drill. Join the movement and register for the next edition.

Lately, IBC has developped a unique virtual reality simulation in which participants experience an earthquake and witness its effects inside a residence, just like they were there! The experience underscores the issues of physical and material safety during a quake. It stresses the importance of knowing what to do during a quake and securing one’s home as much as possible.

From 2016 to 2018, IBC was on the road withQuake Cottage, an earthquake simulator, visiting various communities to have them experience a quake and practice the steps to take. These tours also provided an opportunity to deploy various information and awareness campaigns addressed to citizens.