Severe Weather Caused $2.4 Billion in Insured Damage in 2020

Toronto, ON (Jan. 18, 2021) – Severe weather across Canada continues to highlight the financial costs of a changing climate to insurers and taxpayers. The noteworthy severe weather events of 2020 include the Fort McMurray flooding and Calgary hailstorms. Insured damage for severe weather events across Canada reached $2.4 billion last year, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. Notably, 2020 is now ranked as the fourth highest in insured losses since 1983. According to Munich Reinsurance Company, this year global losses from natural disasters hit $270 billion, significantly higher than previous years.

Top Insured Damage Severe Weather Events in 2020:

  • Jan. 10: Rainstorm and snowstorm Southern Ontario and Quebec ($98 million in insured damage)
  • Jan 31: BC rainstorm ($42 million)
  • Apr. 26 – May 3: Fort McMurray flooding ($562 million)
  • Jun. 13: Calgary hailstorm ($1.3 billion)
  • July & August: Central and Southern Alberta storms ($221 million)
  • Nov. 15: Ontario windstorm ($88 million)

Top 10 Highest Loss Years on Record:

    1. 2016 – Fort McMurray, Alberta, fire ($5.261 billion total losses)
    2. 2013 – Alberta and Greater Toronto Area floods ($3.418 billion)
    3. 1998 – Quebec ice storm ($2.494 billion)
    4. 2020 – Fort McMurray, Alberta, flooding and Calgary, Alberta, hailstorm ($2.388 billion)
    5. 2018 – Multiple events: Ontario and Quebec rainstorms and windstorms ($2.113 billion)
    6. 2011 – Slave Lake, Alberta, fire and windstorm ($1.74 billion)
    7. 2012 – Calgary, Alberta, rainstorm ($1.456 billion)
    8. 2019 – Multiple events ($1.334 billion)
    9. 2005 – Ontario rainstorm ($1.299 billion)
    10. 2017 – Multiple events ($1.255 billion)

Taxpayers and insurers share the cost for severe weather damage. For every dollar paid in insurance claims for damaged homes and businesses, Canadian governments and taxpayers pay out much more to repair public infrastructure that severe weather has damaged. Yet, Canada still lacks a national adaptation strategy with measurable targets and the accompanying investments needed to protect Canadian homes and businesses.

“Canadians continue to experience accelerating financial losses from climate change. While acknowledging the importance of a resilient recovery, the federal government lacks any national plan to protect Canadians from floods, fires, windstorms and hail. For all of its work on reducing future climate threats, too little attention is being paid to the losses Canadians are facing today due to past inaction”,” said Craig Stewart, Vice-President, Federal Affairs, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

“One of the known impacts of climate change is an increase in the frequency of extreme weather events and the damages they cause.  In addition to reducing emissions, Canada also needs a national adaptation plan to protect and prepare Canadians for a changing climate,” said Dr. Richard Florizone, Ph.D., President & CEO, International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and Chair of the Taskforce for a Resilient Recovery.

The federal government’s creation of the Task Force on High Risk Residential Flood Insurance and Strategic Relocation was an important accomplishment in 2020. This is a foundational step in an urgent national effort to better protect Canadians from our primary climate risk. Through this Task Force, insurers will work with governments across the country to ensure every Canadian has access to affordable flood insurance. It should be part of a larger coherent plan, rather than a standalone effort.

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.

For more information, visit If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)

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