Fort McMurray: A Scaled-up Response

Large doesn’t begin to describe the Fort McMurray wildfire. Still burning, it is already of an unprecedented magnitude on many fronts:
  • It is the largest wildfire evacuation in Alberta’s history.
  • It destroyed the largest number of buildings of any wildfire in Canada’s history.
  • With over $86 million donated in just ten days, the Red Cross relief effort represents the largest response to a disaster in Canadian history.

After the fire runs its course, the smoke clears, and the dust settles, large won’t begin to describe the effort that will be needed to rebuild both structures and people’s lives. The sheer number of insurance claims that are coming in, and will continue to be filed as the weeks and months progress, is daunting. As adjusters and claims management professionals become overwhelmed, they will need additional help in order to respond to the insured parties within a reasonable timeframe.

Founded in Alberta more than 20 years ago, the SPECS team has strong ties to Fort McMurray and the surrounding communities. As such, we plan to offer our support and services to those affected by the fires, just as we did immediately following the Slave Lake fire in 2011.

What sort of impact would deploying a large team of appraisal experts to the devastated area have on our clients in other regions of the country?

That’s where size can have its advantages. With 18 offices and over 50 appraisers across Canada, SPECS is the country’s largest and leading provider of impartial pre- and post-loss property consulting services. Thanks to our extensive national network, we have the manpower to scale-up our response to the wildfire-related claims, while simultaneously dealing with other projects that arise locally.

Our vast experience also comes into play in terms of how we accommodate additional caseloads in our regular work schedules. We have a wide-range of experience dealing with catastrophic losses, to the extent that SPECS has had a presence at every Canadian catastrophe for over two decades. Having dealt with this type of damage before, we know what to expect and can hit the ground running. Preparations are already underway for the Fort McMurray response, including both preliminary on some files and a process to submit a claim through the SPECS website. Planning, preparedness, and established processes help us keep our service commitments to ALL of our clients, large and small.

So, while we work to get the lives of those affected in Fort McMurray back to normal, SPECS retains the resources to keep operations business as usual for our clients in other parts of the country. 

In the case of losses, bigger is never better. But when it comes to responding to them, it's nice to have size on your side.