Insurers Seek Shelter from Climate Change


Photos Brian Innis/ The Globe and Mail

When the MacLennan's farm house on Prince Edward Island burnt down, Their insurance company and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction paid out extra money to rebuild the house as a model of how houses should be built to resist storms. "We are seeing more storms, and as a result more damage. You can make arguments as to the reason why, but we just know we're seeing it," said Bryan Seaton, spokesman for ING Canada. Lloyd's of London's chairman called climate change the "No. 1. issue" for the industry and said a $100-billion (U.S.) "mega-catastrophe" may hit anywhere on the Atlantic coast. So what is their response?

* Impact-resistant windows rated for high wind pressures; (Imported from Florida)
* 1" thick steel rods that anchor the floors together, including between the first floor to the foundation;
* Steel braces securing the trusses to the framing, and braced gable ends to withstand high winds;
* Special shingles designed to meet 200 km/h standards, installed using additional nails and cement;
* Heavy roof sheathing designed to stay dry, fastened with ring-shank nails in a tight nailing pattern;
* Water-resistant sealing around windows and doors;
* Adhesive weather-resistant strips installed over every joint in the roof sheathing to protect against water intrusion; and
* Special wind-resistant siding, fascia and soffits.

More steel, more mass, more adhesives, more nails, more of everything in a bigger house. Never was the question asked about what is causing climate change and how our houses have to adapt, That perhaps monster houses with big windows are not appropriate demonstration projects, and that maybe if the house is going to cost 20% more to build then it should be 20% smaller. How to build for climate change is a real problem; throwing more stuff at houses is not the answer. ::Globe and Mail

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