Canadian Underwriter

Canadian insured Cat losses exceed $2 billion — again

January 11, 2022   by Jason Contant

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Canadian insured losses topped $2 billion for the second year in a row, according to estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

“2021 saw much discussion of a ‘new normal’ for Canadians, but when it comes to insured losses, it seems that the new normal — where annual losses due to catastrophes exceed $2 billion annually — is already firmly established,” CatIQ says in a press release.

As of Jan. 11, total insured catastrophic loss sat at $2.04 billion, landing the year in the top five loss years for the country. Caroline Floyd, assistant director of catastrophic loss analysis with CatIQ, told Canadian Underwriter in December that “as it stands, 2021 will make the Top 5 when it comes to highest loss years in our database,” which dates back to 2008.

CatIQ managing director Laura Twidle said Tuesday 2020 estimated insured losses now stand at nearly $2.3 billion.

With 14 events incurring at least $25 million in insured losses in 2021, last year also ties for second place in terms of number of catastrophes. “Western Canada bore the brunt of 2021’s wrath, as fires, windstorms, and record-smashing flooding lashed British Columbia and the Prairies,” says the release from CatIQ, a subsidiary of Zurich-based PERILS A.G.

The massive flooding in southern B.C. was deemed the costliest severe weather event in the province’s history at $450 million in preliminary insured damage (an updated amount is expected soon). Aon’s Global Catastrophe Recap report for November 2021 estimated “total economic losses were anticipated to approach or exceed US$2 billion.”

The flooding began Nov. 13 with a series of ‘atmospheric rivers’ that brought unprecedented rain to southwestern B.C. over a two-week period. Rivers and streams overflowed, washing away roads, bridges and railways and flooding farms in up to two metres of water.

Twidle said the 14 Cat events in 2021 include:

  • Wildfires – 2
  • Hurricane (Larry) – 1
  • Severe thunderstorms – 5
  • Flooding – 3
  • Windstorms – 3


Feature image: A car is filled with mud following flood damage in Merritt, B.C. Thursday, December 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward