Northern Alberta Wildfire Costliest Insured Natural Disaster in Canadian History

Estimate of insured losses: $3.58 billion

Toronto, ON (July 7, 2016) – Insurance Bureau of Canada reports that the May 2016 northern Alberta wildfire is by far the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history. Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) estimates the insured property damage at $3.58 billion. This is more than twice the amount of the previous costliest natural disaster on record – the 2013 southern Alberta flood, which cost $1.7 billion in insurance claims.

“This wildfire, and the damage it caused, is more alarming evidence that extreme weather events have increased in both frequency and severity in Canada,” said Don Forgeron, President and CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

“In recent times, wildfires and flooding have turned extreme and at times tragic,” said Forgeron. “As a country, we need to take a more disciplined and sustained approach to helping prepare Canadians for fires and floods. We must build a more resilient country to better protect those affected by the very real impacts of our changing climate. By taking action now, we can minimize costs to taxpayers and better equip homeowners for the risks and challenges that lie ahead.”

Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry was on the ground within a day of the evacuation and has been working tirelessly alongside thousands of dedicated Albertans and people from across Canada and beyond to help residents of Fort McMurray and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo respond, recover and rebuild. Insurers and IBC are fully committed to working with all levels of government, the community and other stakeholders for as long as it takes to rebuild.

In a further breakdown of the insured damage data, CatIQ reports that there are more than 27,000 personal property claims; the average claim is $81,000. There are also more than 12,000 auto insurance claims, averaging $15,000 per claim. In addition, there are more than 5,000 commercial insurance claims that average over $250,000 per claim. On top of this insured damage, IBC acknowledges the community, its residents and businesses have suffered incalculable losses not typically covered by insurers and continues to work to help the community rebuild.

IBC and its members continue to process claim requests as quickly as possible to ensure that policyholders can return to normal life. The $3.58 billion in claims payments from the insurance industry will go a long way toward reaching this goal.

As the insurance claims process continues, local residents will continue to have questions. If you have a general question about your insurance policy, call your insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC. Canada’s insurers are here to help and will continue to be available to help throughout the rebuilding process.

CatIQ compiles and combines comprehensive insured loss amounts and related information to serve the risk management needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries. The estimates in this release are subject to change.

About CatIQ

Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) delivers detailed analytical and meteorological information on Canadian natural and man-made catastrophes. Through its online subscription-based platform, CatIQ combines comprehensive insured loss indices and other related information to better serve the needs of the insurance and reinsurance industries, public sector and other stakeholders. To learn more, visit

About IBC

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up approximately 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 120,000 Canadians, pays $8.2 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $49 billion.

For more information, visit

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada