Severe Weather Causes $1.9 Billion in Insured Damage in 2018

BC Storms Cause $37 Million in Insured Damage

Toronto, ON (Jan. 16, 2019) – Severe weather across Canada continues to highlight the financial costs of climate change to insurers and taxpayers. In 2018, insured damage for severe weather events across Canada reached $1.9 billion, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.

Ice storms, floods, windstorms and tornadoes, did damage to homes, vehicles and commercial properties across the country.

Notably, 2018 has the fourth-highest amount of losses on record. However, unlike the Quebec ice storm in 1998, the Calgary floods in 2013 or the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016, no single event caused the high amount paid out for losses. Instead, Canadians and their insurers experienced significant losses from a host of smaller severe weather events from coast to coast. These included:

  • January storms and floods that caused more than $54 million in insured damage across Eastern Canada
  • February storms and floods that caused more than $57 million in insured damage across southern Ontario and Quebec
  • An early-April storm that caused more than $85 million in insured damage across Ontario and Quebec
  • A mid-April ice storm that affected southern Ontario and resulted in more than $190 million in insured damage
  • An early-May windstorm that affected Ontario and parts of Quebec and topped $410 million – with $380 million of this damage being in Ontario
  • Summer storms across the Prairies that caused more than $240 million in insured damage
  • A flood in Toronto on August 7 that caused over $80 million in insured damage
  • Ottawa-Gatineau tornadoes and windstorms on September 21 caused $295 million in insured damage
  • December storms in British Columbia that caused $37 million in insured damage

As the financial cost of a changing climate rises, IBC is working closely with governments at all levels to advocate for increased investment to mitigate the future impacts of extreme weather and build resiliency to its damaging effects. This includes investment in new infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires, improved building codes, better land-use planning and, increasingly, creating incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas of highest risk.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reminds Canadians that it is not only insurers who foot the bill for severe weather damage. For every single dollar paid out in insurance claims for homes and businesses, IBC estimates that Canadian governments pay out $3 to recover public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

“Climate change is costing Canadian taxpayers, governments and businesses billions of dollars each and every year,” said Craig Stewart, Vice-President of Federal Affairs for IBC. “We must take the necessary steps to limit these losses in the future. The cost of inaction is too high.”

December’s storm damaged more than 3,000 homes across southwestern BC and left more than 750,000 BC Hydro customers without power. It downed large trees and hydro poles across Vancouver Island, the southern Gulf Islands, the Sunshine Coast and the Lower Mainland. In White Rock, the winds caused boats to damage the pier. Due to strong winds and flooding, a state of emergency was declared for Tseshaht First Nation.

“The financial costs of climate change are increasing rapidly. Last month’s storm events are the latest example of the need to improve our resilience to climate change and adapt to the new weather reality we face,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific, IBC.

Visit IBC’s website for information on how to prepare for a disaster and home flooding mitigation techniques.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC’s Media Centre at

SOURCE: Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)

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