Canadian Underwriter

Ontario storm costs $400 million (September 06, 2005)

September 6, 2005   by Canadian Underwriter

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Canada’s car, home and business insurers expect to pay out more than $400 million to help Southern Ontario recover from an August 19 storm that resulted in what the IBC calls the “highest insured loss in Ontario history.”
“To date, insurance companies have reported a huge volume of claims – more than 15,000 and growing,” said Mark Yakabuski, IBC’s vice-president, federal affairs and Ontario. “It can take months to determine the full impact of a once-in-a-100-year storm like this, but the latest insurance industry information suggests that claims are likely to exceed $400 million.”
Insurers faced the added challenge that the August 2005 storm damage from thundershowers and tornadoes was not limited to a small geographic area. “This storm pummelled communities from Kitchener-Waterloo, to Toronto, to Durham region and beyond,” said Yakabuski.
“Adjusters have been doing a tremendous job responding to their policyholders and helping them in the claims process. While there’s no replacing items like the family photo album, the industry is doing what it can to return people to their normal lives as soon as possible,” he added.
The vast majority of claims are for sewer back-up. Sewer back-up is typically purchased as an addition to a homeowner’s policy. There have also been a number of auto claims and many businesses were damaged.
In the Fergus area, where two tornadoes touched down, there have been property claims for wind damage.
“The impact was nowhere near the devastation suffered by the victims of Hurricane Katrina, of course, but there are a lot of residents and business owners out there still trying to cope with substantial losses,” said Yakabuski.
Other recent Ontario disasters include the 2004 Peterborough flood, which cost $95 million.