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Update: Edmonton storms could prove costly


July 15, 2004   by Canadian Underwriter


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(Note change in last two paragraphs.)While claims figures are not yet available for flooding and hail damage in the Edmonton area this past weekend, the storms are likely to prove costly for insurers, says Jim Rivait, vice president of the Prairie region for the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). Rivait notes the weekend weather damage comes on top of storms earlier last week. “We know from last week’s storm there were something like 1,400 claims, and the weekend was bigger. The West Edmonton Mall had a number of businesses damaged, and there were a number of claims for automobiles with hail damage.”
Severe rainfall and hail hit Edmonton on Sunday night, with more than 500 homes reporting basement flooding as well as the West Edmonton Mall the world’s largest mall and major roads being washed out. In its latest Instrat CAT-i Report, Guy Carpenter says about 150 mm of rain fell, triggering flash floods.
This follows more than 350 flooded basements resulting from storms earlier last week, according to an advisory from Edmonton Mayor Bill Smith. He notes cost of repairs to the city’s drainage systems from the earlier storms alone is estimated at $750,000.
Sewer back-up is insurable, meaning that the majority of homeowner losses will be covered by insurance, Rivait explains.Rivait notes that there is some concern over the government seeking provincial relief funds for an event for which homeowners could have purchased insurance coverage. The city’s own release call sewer back-up an “act of God” and notes that it is insurable on this basis.