2012 another billion-dollar year in severe weather damages for Canadian insurers, reports IBC

Edmonton, AB (Dec. 11, 2012) – For the third time in the last four years, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that the estimated insured damage caused by severe weather across Canada has topped $1 billion.

These numbers reflect the estimates reported by Property Claim Services Canada (PCS-Canada), a service that tracks insured losses arising from catastrophic events in Canada. Data collected by PCS-Canada confirms that thousands of claims have been filed for damage to homes, cars and businesses in the wake of the severe weather events.

“The largest of the events in 2012 was the wind, flooding and hail storms that battered Calgary and surrounding areas this past August. An update to insured damages pegs that storm now at more than $500 million,” says Heather Mack, Director, Government Relations, Alberta with IBC.

A number of events hit Ontario. In October, “Superstorm” Sandy, where rain and winds damaged the U.S. northeast including New York and Atlantic City, hit across Ontario and Quebec and topped $100 million in damages. In May, a weather system that hit Ontario and Quebec resulted in high winds and flooding amounted to $260 million in damages.

“These types of weather events can have a devastating impact on communities, the safety of their residents and the protection of their property. Individuals and families can prepare themselves and reduce their vulnerability to severe weather by taking some simple precautions. IBC.ca has a number of simple tips to help you prepare for the worst,” adds Mack.

IBC has made adapting to severe weather a priority, including:

  • The need to maintain and update infrastructure i.e. sanitary and storm water systems.
  • Educating consumers on how to protect themselves and their properties.
  • Working with provincial and municipal governments to help develop, promote and implement adaptation measures.

Earlier this year, IBC commissioned “Telling the Weather Story” – a research paper from Dr. Gordon McBean, which looked at the impact weather could have in Canada in the future. The report helps Canadians better understand severe weather as a factor in the increasing damages to personal and commercial properties that we are seeing in many parts of Canada.

IBC Senior vice president of Policy and Chief Economist Gregor Robinson says, “Insurers are seeing the financial impacts of severe weather first-hand. Canadians are already witnessing the impact of severe weather in terms of lost lives and injuries, families displaced from their homes, and towns that are devastated.”

About IBC

IBC is a leader in advocating for adaptation to severe weather. Visit ibc.ca for a selection of brochures and a section of our website devoted to providing Canadians with practical tips about how they can improve their home’s resiliency.

A list of the severe weather events in 2012 can be found here.

If consumers have insurance-related questions, they are urged to contact their insurance representatives or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre.

Data about insured damage is from PCS-Canada. Subscribers to the PCS-Canada service can access detailed reports by logging on to www.pcs-canada.com.