Canadian Underwriter

What the industry paid out for severe weather in 2018

January 17, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

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The industry lost nearly $2 billion last year in Canada alone from the combined effect of several weather catastrophes. “No single event caused the high amount paid out for losses,” the Insurance Bureau of Canada said Wednesday in a release.

Instead, insurers lost $1.9 billion due to “significant losses from a host of smaller severe weather events” in 2018. Of that, more than $410 million resulted from a wind storm May 4, IBC noted, quoting Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ), a sister company to Toronto-based MSA Research.

The May wind storm, which affected both Ontario and Quebec, lasted for several hours, with gusts of 120 km/h in some places. Property owners experienced roof damage and power outages. Of the $410 million in losses, $380 million occurred in Ontario.

Another $295 million in losses resulted from wind storms and tornadoes Sept. 21 in the Ottawa area, IBC noted Wednesday.

An EF-3 category tornado, with wind speeds of up to 265 km/h, touched down Sept. 21 near Ottawa in Dunrobin, Environment Canada reported at the time. A second tornado touched down near the intersection of Hunt Club Road and Greenbank Road in western Ottawa.

“Summer storms across the Prairies that caused more than $240 million in insured damage,” IBC said Wednesday.

An ice storm April 14-16 in Ontario caused about $190 million in damage. Toronto endured freezing rain and ice pellets for two days. London International Airport got 14 hours of freezing rain mixed with ice pellets – for a total water equivalent of 55.1 mm.

Other catastrophe events in 2018 included:

  • A storm in April that caused more than $85 million in insured losses in Ontario and Quebec
  • An Aug. 7 flood in Toronto that cost the industry $80 million
  • Storms and floods in February that caused more than $57 million in insured damage in Ontario and Quebec;
  • Storms and floods affecting eastern Canada in January, which cost the industry more than $54 million; and
  • Storms last month in British Columbia that caused $37 million in insured damage.

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