FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has launched a Disaster Financial Assistance program to help small businesses, municipalities and individuals who suffered property damage following the mild temperatures and heavy rainfall of Jan. 12-13.

More than 100 millimetres of rain fell in less than 24 hours, causing flooding and washouts in several regions of the province. Damage to private and public infrastructure was extensive, with recovery costs estimated at $9.6 million. Thousands of NB Power customers were without electricity, some for as long as 40 hours, mainly in Kent County and Kennebecasis Valley.

“We are pleased to provide assistance to those in need during this difficult time,” said Justice and Public Safety Minister Denis Landry. “Keeping New Brunswickers safe is a priority for our government and that starts with a safe home. Recovering from a flood is not easy, but the Disaster Financial Assistance program will ease the burden.”

The program provides assistance for eligible damage and losses that threaten the health and safety of individuals, municipalities and small businesses. The maximum assistance for structural repairs to private residences is $160,000, while the maximum for small businesses and not-for-profit organizations is $500,000.

Advance payments available

Advance payments against the total value of an eligible claim may be authorized to help pay for urgent work that will enable owners to reoccupy their property as quickly as possible. Advance payments will normally be for claims in excess of $10,000, may not exceed the total payable value of the claim and may not exceed $4,000. An application form and more information on advance payments are available online.

How to apply

A Disaster Financial Assistance package will be mailed to those who have already registered their damages.

People who were impacted but did not register their damages may register with Service New Brunswick online or by calling 1-888-298-8555. Once they have registered, an application package will be mailed to them.

Additional information on the program is available online.

Homeowners, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations have until May 15 to submit an application.

Consult the Flood Recovery for your Home or Business guide for tips on cleaning up after a flood and Disaster Financial Assistance. You may also call 1-888-553-8558 if you have questions.

Residents and small businesses that are eligible to receive assistance are subject to paying a deductible. For individual homeowners the deductible is $1,000 and for small businesses the deductible is $5,000. The deductible is automatically waived for social services clients. Requests for waiver may also be considered from those who are experiencing severe financial hardship.

Call your insurance company first

Contact your insurance company first to determine if the damage is already covered. You may have coverage for some of your losses and your insurer can act on your claim right away. If the damage is not covered under an insurance policy, contact the recovery team at the Department of Justice and Public Safety’s Emergency Measures Organization so the eligibility can be assessed.

The following are examples of what can be claimed:

Uninsurable losses or damage. If major damage to your main residence prevents you from returning to your home for safety or hygiene reasons, you must first contact your insurance company to make a claim. If your insurer refuses to pay for damage, you may apply to the Disaster Financial Assistance program. Your situation will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. However, your insurer will have to complete the Appendix A to justify the refusal. The fact that you do not have home insurance does not make you automatically eligible for the program. Not insuring your home is a choice, and does not make losses less insurable. If you were insured, damage might be covered, so it would be considered an insurable loss.

Cleaning debris on your property. You must submit pictures of damage (broken trees, for example) before and after cleaning. If you do the cleaning yourself, keep a cleaning work registry. This means tracking the date, the name of the person who worked, the number of hours worked on that day and a description of the work carried out. Write down the information for each person and every day worked that was necessary to complete the cleaning. If you used the services of a professional team, the cleaning bill will be refunded.

Food loss is considered an insurable loss. Residents should ask their insurance providers to cover this cost.

In case of issues with the insurer, call the Office of the Consumer Advocate for Insurance at 1-888-283-5111.

Over the last 10 years, more than 13 natural disasters have occurred in New Brunswick, resulting in more than $185 million being spent on disaster recovery and mitigation activities.

As with any Disaster Financial Assistance program, the provincial government will submit received expenses to the federal Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. It is a cost-shared agreement among the federal, provincial and territorial governments to help cover response and recovery expenses following a disaster. The federal government will then reimburse eligible expenditures.