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Playing with fire - more than half of Canadian homeowners lack a fire escape plan

RBC Insurance and Fire Prevention Canada team up for Fire Prevention Week

TORONTO, October 1, 2008 — While virtually all insured Canadian homeowners have smoke alarms, only 56 per cent of insured Canadian homeowners have a fire escape plan. This is according to a recent RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid poll which also found that more than half (51 per cent) of those with a fire escape plan have never practiced it.

"It's great that Canadians are recognizing the need for smoke alarms in their homes, but it's troubling that so many homeowners don't have a plan in place if a fire erupts," said Francois Boulanger, president & CEO of RBC General Insurance Company. "Outlining and practicing a fire escape plan with your entire family is a simple and easy way to protect their well-being and reduce the fear associated with a house fire."

The RBC Insurance survey confirms that eight in ten homeowners list fire as their primary reason for obtaining home insurance. Additionally, almost one-third of Canadian homeowners (29 per cent) do not have a fire extinguisher in their home.

Fire Prevention Canada statistics reveal that 78 per cent of deaths from fire occur in the home, with most fatalities taking place while occupants are asleep. "Our schools, hospitals and other public buildings have detailed escape plans and rehearse them regularly. But we need to get into the same mindset in our homes," added Boulanger.

RBC Insurance and Fire Prevention Canada have also announced a joint partnership to kick off Fire Prevention Week with a $15,000 donation to assist with fire education and safety activities.

"We thank RBC Insurance for their contribution and support," said David Hodgins, president of Fire Prevention Canada. "The results of the survey confirm the need for our awareness programs and solidify our resolve of disseminating the fire prevention message to every Canadian. Fire spreads very quickly. Without a proper fire escape plan, precious time will be lost in attempting to escape. It will cost lives."

Fire Prevention Canada and RBC Insurance will launch Fire Prevention Week with a special event celebration at the Barney Dawson Theatre in the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa on Thursday October 2, 2008 at 10 a.m. Fire Prevention Week runs from October 5 through to October 11.

To highlight Fire Prevention Week and assist in fire safety, RBC Insurance will be providing free smoke alarms, without purchase, at its retail insurance branches. Customers can visit their local RBC Insurance branches to receive a free smoke alarm along with personal insurance advice on how to safeguard their property and valuables with a home insurance policy.

For more information on fire safety tips and how insurance can protect your home in the event of a fire, visit www.rbcinsurance.com/firesafety.

About this survey
These are the findings of an RBC Insurance/Ipsos Reid survey conducted between August 5 and August 8, 2008. The poll was based on a randomly selected sample of 2,000 adult Canadians who were interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within ±2.19 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. The data was statistically weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.

About RBC Insurance
RBC Insurance, the largest Canadian bank owned insurance group of companies, through its legal operating entities, RBC General Insurance Company, provides a wide range of life, health, travel, home, auto and reinsurance products as well as creditor insurance services to more than five million North American customers. Its fast growing home and auto insurance business offers Canadians a comprehensive range of personal home and auto insurance products through direct sales channels, including over the phone, the Internet and retail insurance branches, as well as through group insurance plans. RBC Insurance also offers a premier claims service, available 24/7 to help clients when they need it most. For more information, please visit www.rbcinsurance.com.

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Media contacts:
Kerry Gaetano, (905) 816-5583, kerry.gaetano@rbc.com
Margie McNeil, (905) 606-1425, margie.mcneil@rbc.com


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10/01/2008 08:11:18