June 23, 2020 by Greg Meckbach
Brokers with clients in northeast Calgary are getting overwhelmed with claims from the June 13 storm, a board member of the province’s association says.
“You can just hear the exasperation in their voice when you talk to them, and the stress, and they would probably have dealt with hundreds and hundreds of claims for their clients,” said Barry Haggis, president elect of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta, in an interview Tuesday with Canadian Underwriter.
Haggis has been checking in with IBAA members in the aftermath of the storm that reportedly damaged more than 20,000 properties in and around Calgary the evening of June 13.
“This was an absolute disaster and heading up to the northeast part of the city that got hit, it looks like a war zone. Entire sides are gone off of houses.”
It is too early to tell what the industry-wide loss will be but some speculate it could be in the neighbourhood of $1 billion.
Haggis is hearing of a shortage of rental cars in Calgary because many clients’ cars are so badly damaged from hail that they can’t be driven.
“We have one client in particular, where we put in a hail claim for the roof and the siding, we put in an overland flood claim because the basement flooded through the window wells, and then they have their two vehicles that were parked on the street that got absolutely destroyed. That’s a pretty massive claim for those people, and I think that’s the case with a lot of them,” said Haggis, who by day is president of Young and Haggis Insurance Services Ltd., which is based in southern Calgary.
As of Tuesday, Young and Haggis only had 45 claims. But brokers with a higher concentration of business in northeast Calgary are much busier, Haggis suggested.
Many homes will have overland water losses even though they were not near rivers.
“It was just massive amounts of rain and hail hitting in a short time, storm sewers got overwhelmed and then that’s how it all started getting into properties,” said Haggis. “The city storm drains just couldn’t take it, or they got plugged up with debris and that kind of thing, so the water just started pooling on the streets. And with the amount of rain, it actually ended up reaching a lot of these houses and going in through window wells or coming in through the foundation, or whatever the case may be.”
Coverage for flooding from an overland water source was generally not available to Canadian homeowners until 2015.
The claims that Young and Haggis has dealt with so far have overland water coverage, Haggis suggested. But there could be Alberta homeowners without overland flood and therefore no insurance coverage for losses from June 13.
Feature image: The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh