When Hurricane Fiona swept through Atlantic Canada in the Fall of 2022, Ecclesiastical was there.  Fiona made landfall as one of the most powerful and destructive weather events in Canadian history.  Extreme wind gusts of 179 kilometers per hour were recorded in some part of Atlantic Canada leading to widespread damage to thousands of homes and businesses, including many places of worship. Repair and restoration costs have been estimated at $800 million with areas in Cape Breton and mainland Nova Scotia especially hard hit.

Through our Canadian Catastrophe Claims Response Plan, Ecclesiastical took swift action prior to the hurricane even making landfall.  We established a bespoke team of Claim and Risk Management specialists, backed up by commercial contractors, experts and other loss specialists to respond to this catastrophe. 

Claims – Places of Worship

Hurricane Fiona was the largest natural catastrophe Ecclesiastical Insurance has seen in Canada based on the number of claims reported.  This catastrophe was particularly challenging for our faith customers with more than 70% of losses being reported by places of worship.  Reported claims ranged from minor damage, to significant complex structural losses requiring a diverse team of highly specialized experts to investigate and restore. 

This catastrophe presented challenges in assessing the affected locations, locating experts to assess the damage as well as assigning the right specialty contractors and experts to repair and restore the damages.  Places of worship can also have heritage or unique property including stained glass, artwork, musical instruments and religious artifacts.  Many of these features required the coordinated efforts of artisans as well as other specialists to complete the restoration.

Ecclesiastical’s Response

The Ecclesiastical team of Claims and Risk Management Specialists were monitoring the movement of Hurricane Fiona well before the storm impacted Atlantic Canada.  We had communication in place to assist our Insureds in terms of reporting claims and had risk management information posted on social media detailing steps to take to protect property during a storm event.

Weather related damage is one of the most common sources of claims and can cause loss to structural exteriors as well as provide a pathway for water to enter and damage the building. “Aperatures” or “openings” are created through strong, sustained winds which remove roof and building coverings, allowing water to enter, sometimes at multiple points that can be challenging to trace.  Entry points must be found and repaired followed by remediation of property damaged by wind and water.

To ensure we have the resources available to respond to our insured’s claims, Ecclesiastical Insurance has a Canadian Catastrophe Claims Response Plan that guarantees we have service providers in place for catastrophic events and includes commercial contractors, independent adjusters, hygienists, engineers and cost consultants.  Led by the in-house Claims Specialists, these service providers form a team responsible for identifying what is causing the loss and steps necessary to repair/restore in a fair and cost-effective manner.  We also utilized our risk control team to quantify losses and to help our insureds understand the steps they can take to mitigate or prevent future losses.

We were very impressed by the promptness, courtesy and clarity provided by Ecclesiastical representatives in dealing with a situation that needed immediate attention.”

The whole experience went smoothly. Thank you”.

“I was very satisfied with the entire process”.

Risk Bulletin:

Windstorm Emergency Response Plan

Before a hurricane or windstorm strikes, there are preventative measures that can be taken, to mitigate the extent of damage to your property.

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