January 12, 2022 by Jason Contant
Intact paid out an estimated $186 million for catastrophe losses in 2021 Q4, the company reported.
“Approximately 55% of the catastrophe losses were in our Canada segment, with half in personal property,” IFC says in a press release. “This mostly reflected the impact of floods in British Columbia, as well as windstorms across Ontario and Quebec in December.”
November flooding in southwestern B.C. is the costliest severe weather event in the province’s history, with the industry paying out an estimated $450 million in losses (an updated insured damage estimate is expected soon). The flooding began Nov. 13 with a series of ‘atmospheric rivers’ that brought unprecedented rain over a two-week period. Rivers and streams overflowed, washing away roads, bridges, railways, and flooding farms in up to two metres of water.
At the time, Aon estimated total economic losses would “approach or exceed US$2 billion.”
The December windstorms in Ontario and Quebec brought snow, freezing rain, and wind, forcing many road closures. Heavy rain and very strong winds knocked out power to more than 100,000 homes in southern Ontario and 400,000 in Quebec.
As for the rest of Intact’s 2021 Q4 Cat losses, about 20% were attributed to the United Kingdom and Ireland, and 5% were in U.S. specialty lines. The remainder of the (pre-tax) $186 million was reported in Corporate & Other category as a result of internal reinsurance.
Overall, the industry paid out more than $2 billion for Cat losses for the second year in a row, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). As of Jan. 11, total insured Cat losses sat at $2.04 billion. CatIQ managing director Laura Twidle tells Canadian Underwriter estimated Cat insured losses were nearly $2.3 billion in 2020.
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 a release from CatIQ, a subsidiary of Zurich-based PERILS A.G.
The 14 events included:
Wildfires – 2
Hurricane (Larry) – 1
Severe Thunderstorms – 5
Flooding – 3
Windstorms – 3
“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.
Feature image: A construction worker speaks to a heavy equipment operator at the site where rock is being blasted and removed for use in repairing mudslide and flood damage to the Coquihalla Highway northeast of Hope, B.C., Friday, Dec. 10, 2021. According to the B.C. Transportation Ministry the highway, which was heavily damaged in numerous places during last month’s flooding and mudslides, is on track to reopen to essential travel in early January if weather cooperates. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck