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August hail storm in Alberta tops $450 million in insured damage


September 4, 2014   by Canadian Underwriter


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The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), citing figures from Property Claim Services (PCS), announced Wednesday that a major storm that hit southern Alberta Aug. 7-8 caused an estimated $450 million in insured damage.

IBC reports that the estimated damage from the storm ratchets up the tally of Alberta’s insurance payments from natural catastrophes to $4 billion since 2011. Events reported on by PCS must reach a threshold of $25 million and, as such, are deemed natural catastrophes by the insurance industry, an IBC statement notes.

A storm hitting Alberta in August caused about $450 million in insured damage

“While the frequency and severity of weather events have been rising across the country, Alberta has been hardest hit,” says Bill Adams, IBC’s vice president, Western and Pacific. “What’s more is that we are not out of the woods yet. Alberta hail season traditionally runs through the end of September,” Adams points out.

The intense storm – which brought torrential rains, wind and both golf-ball and tennis-ball-sized hail to southern Alberta – brushed Calgary and struck Airdrie and surrounding areas, including Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer.

Adams reports the storm damaged tens of thousands of cars and homes, necessitating that some insurers bring in claims staff from other provinces and the United States to lend a hand. “Claims adjusters, body shops and contractors continue to assess and repair damages,” he says.

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In late August, Intact Financial Corporation announced its preliminary estimate of $100 million to $120 million in pre-tax financial impact related to catastrophe events in July and August.

The recent hail storm that hit Airdrie accounted for approximately 70% of the preliminary estimate, noted a statement from Intact, the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in Canada.

IBC notes the storm was among a number of recent damaging weather events in Alberta, including the following:

June 2013 – severe weather events, including the flooding in southern Alberta, caused more than $1.7 billion in insured damage;

• August 2012 – the Calgary region and surrounding areas that were hit with wind and thunderstorm produced insured damage of over $535 million;

• July 2012 – insured damage of more than $100 million was caused by an Edmonton wind and thunderstorm;

• July 2012 – severe wind and thunderstorm from Cardston to Nanton caused insured damage of over $71 million;

• November 2011 – wind and thunderstorm in Alberta caused insured damage topping $230 million;

• July 2011 – Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan wind and thunderstorm cost more than $190 million in insured damage; and

• May 2011 – a serious fire in Slave Lake had estimated insured damage of more than $717 million.