Fort McMurray from the frontline

Tuesday, July 26, 2016
When Michael Norton arrived in Edmonton with his RSA colleague Casey Stang on May 6, more than half of the 80,000 people displaced by the Fort McMurray wildfires had arrived in town to escape the inferno that destroyed homes, decimated cars and turned lives upside-down.

Just a day earlier, Michael, a senior RSA field adjuster, said goodbye to his wife and family and headed to Edmonton to help the evacuees get back on their feet.

Armed with supplies, like water, snacks and prepaid debit cards and cheques, to help the impacted Fort McMurray families get back on their feet, Michael and Casey arrived at the evacuation centre in Edmonton with the Claims Cruiser.

The Claims Cruiser is a mobile work office that allowed the team to assist Fort McMurray residents with their claims on the spot.

“We had a job to do,” Michael says. “We were there to help service out clients as best we could in their time of need. We wanted to show them that we were there to help.”

And that’s exactly what the dynamic duo did.

“On the Friday, we met with 200 RSA and Johnson customers face-to-face,” Michael says. “It was 12-hours of non-stop clients. They started lining up from the moment we sat down to help them.”

“We issued more than 125 cheques for additional living expenses and fielded a range of questions about their policies,” Michael recalls.

“It was such a rewarding experience for both Casey and I. We were there to provide emergency funds for those impacted, go over their policy coverages, reassure them and just be a listening ear for many people who had lost everything. Many people had no idea what they were going to come back to.”

“The highlight for me was seeing the strength of these people, who had lost their livelihoods and their possessions. Many of the people that we dealt with face-to-face were upbeat and positive in the face of such heartache,” Michael says. “People were working together and helping each other, while holding on to the hope that their homes were going to be okay. It restored my faith in humanity.”

Media Enquiries: 
Brodie Bott
RSA Canada
(647) 466-4101