British Columbia floods cause $450 million in insured damage

Toronto, ON (Dec. 9, 2021) – The recent flooding in southern British Columbia is now estimated to have caused $450 million in insured damage, according to preliminary estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

This will be the most costly severe weather event in the province’s history, and began with a series of atmospheric rivers on November 13 that brought unprecedented rain to the province’s southwest over a two-week period. The storms resulted in the tragic loss of life, as well as devastating mudslides and flooded homes, farms and businesses. Public infrastructure, including major highways, was destroyed, choking supply chains resulting in a State of Emergency. Given the scale of the disaster, it is expected that the overall economic losses will be much higher than the insured loss figure.

“While the insurance damage stemming from these flood events is significant, the sad reality is that many residents impacted were located in high-risk flood areas and floodplains where flood insurance coverage is not available,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific and Western, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “As a result, the overwhelming majority of costs for this disaster will be borne by government and taxpayers. As we continue to see the increasing impacts of our changing climate, it’s clear much more must be done to create a culture of preparedness and to build our resilience to the risks we face.”

To that end, IBC has been leading conversations with the federal and provincial governments on ways to better protect communities moving forward and to better manage the costs of flooding for high-risk residential properties in Canada. As a member of the federal, provincial and territorial Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation, IBC has put forth options to create a residential flood insurance program – including a public-private partnership model – that would make affordable insurance available to residents of high-risk areas. These recent floods are a reminder of the urgency with which we must move forward in those discussions.

“This year, British Columbians have seen first-hand the devastating impact our changing climate can have, be it severe storms, wildfires or floods,” said Sutherland. “Insurance can help individuals recover financially, but the human impact is often irreparable. These disasters are also having an outsized impact on those most vulnerable and, as a result, we must greatly enhance our efforts to mitigate future climate change and to adapt to the new weather reality we face.”

In 2021 British Columbia has been impacted by windstorms in January that caused $134 million in insured damage across western Canada, the devastating wildfires that caused $155 million in insured damage this past summer, and these recent flood events which have caused $450 million in insured damage, as per CatIQ.

Governments at all levels must do more to prioritize investments that build our resilience and better protect our families and communities. The province’s upcoming renewal of its Climate Adaptation Strategy is an important opportunity for British Columbia to become a leader in Canada in this regard. Similarly, Canada must prioritize its work on a national adaptation strategy, including a high-risk flood insurance pool, to address climate-related disasters such as extreme heat, wildfires, floods, windstorms and hail. Increased collaboration across the public and private sectors is essential to defending Canadians from these events.

Anyone who has been impacted by this event or who has questions about their home, vehicle or business insurance, should call their insurance representative or IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.

The amount of insured damage is an estimate provided by CatIQ under licence to IBC.

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.

About CatIQ

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

CatIQ was established in 2014 with the support of the overwhelming majority of the Canadian insurance and reinsurance industry and is widely recognized as the most reliable source of catastrophe loss information in Canada. CatIQ also partners with MSA Research to host the Canadian catastrophe conference, CatIQ Connect, which will run quarterly online until Feb 2022 when it will be back in-person on an annual basis.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)

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