B.C. sawmill operators are facing skyrocketing insurance rates after the industry was hit hard by two fatal explosions in the span of three months.
Flavelle Sawmill in Port Moody was forced to shut down last week after the company was told insurance premiums were jumping from $300,000 a year to $1.1 million.
“We have one thing after the other, we have markets collapsing, and now this,” Flavelle’s David Gray said. “That order of magnitude, we’re just not able to absorb it.”
Flavelle has found another insurer, but the company is still paying substantially higher rates. Gray says he’s worried that if premiums continue to climb, many sawmills will be forced to simply close.
A Vancouver-based insurance company told CTV News that sawmills across the country are facing rising premiums, but the crisis is biggest in B.C.
Rates have been climbing for years, but they spiked in January after two men were killed in an explosion at Babine Forest Products in Burns Lake. After a second fatal blast in Prince George two weeks ago, and no answers on the cause of either tragedy, undertakers aren’t willing to take on more risks.