Canadian Underwriter

Hail-resistant roofing should be added to Canadian building codes: ICLR

October 21, 2015   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor

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More needs to be done to address insured losses from hail, an official with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction suggested Tuesday.

Three storms in Alberta, in 2010, 2012 and 2014, caused a combined total of $1.72 billion in damages

During a presentation at a seminar organized by AIR Worldwide, ICLR Managing Director Glenn McGillivray showed attendees a list of large hail events in Canada. Three of those storms in Alberta – in 2010, 2012 and 2014 – caused a combined total of $1.72 billion in damages.

AIR Worldwide is the catastrophe modelling unit of Jersey City-based Verisk Analytics Inc.

Losses from hail are “adding up,” McGillivray warned during the 2015 AIR Toronto Seminar, held at the Sheraton Centre.

“Our members are talking to use about hail, but we’re not doing quite enough about it, even though there’s a lot of knowledge around resilience and what to do about hail losses,” McGillivray told attendees.

ICLR – which aims to educating property owners on how they can protect property natural hazards such as flooding, wind, earthquake and wildfire risk – uses research from labs at Western University in London.

“We really need to concentrate on roofing, because that’s where a lot of the damage (from hail) is coming from, and that’s where we have the most knowledge,” McGillivray said, suggesting that one roofing material that helps resist hail damage is asphalt shingles meeting the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 2218 class 4 standard.

“We need to look at the whole question of incentivizing impact-resistant roofing materials, but I am a firm believer that we can’t just load it all on the backs of P&C insurers to incentivize people, because incentivization doesn’t necessarily work,” he said.

For example, he recently spoke with a person who got a refund of $1.50 on his home insurance policy after installing a backwater valve.

“So he put in a $1,500 backwater valve and got a buck and a half back,” McGillivray said. “Incentivization from insurers doesn’t necessarily work. But we do have to engage in that discussion and probably team up with government … they have things like sales taxes and other ways of incentivization. And we have to push for impact resistance in building codes, particularly getting class 4 asphalt shingles put in the building codes, especially for high-risk hail areas.”

Smaller storms tend to affect vehicles only, while more severe storms affect buildings, McGillivray suggested.

“You get roof damage, you get siding damage, you get window damage and then in commercial structures you can have rooftop plant HVAC and other systems being heavily damaged as well,” he said.

“There is some discussion over the last few years about getting the auto manufacturers to start looking at polymer panels and things like that, and some of them are doing that, not because of hail, but because of other reasons,” McGillivray said. “But just think about that for a minute – trying to lobby the auto industry to use other materials. I don’t think you’re going to have a whole lot of luck.”

More coverage of the 2015 AIR Toronto seminar

Clients looking to be more involved to understand how Cat events can affect their books of business: AIR Worldwide

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