Insured damage for severe weather events across Canada reached $1.9 billion in 2018, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
Ice storms, floods, windstorms, and tornadoes, did damage to homes, vehicles, and commercial property across the country throughout the year.
Damages in 2018 are the fourth-highest amount of losses on record in Canada. However, unlike with 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.
“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.”
Weather events in 2018 that impacted to the insurance claims totals included:
- January storms and floods caused more than $54 million in insured damage across Eastern Canada.
- February storms and floods caused more than $57 million in insured damage across southern Ontario and Quebec.
- An early-April storm caused more than $85 million in insured damage across Ontario and Quebec.
- A mid-April ice storm affected southern Ontario and resulted in more than $190 million in insured damage.
- An early-May windstorm affected Ontario and parts of Quebec and topped $410 million, with $380 million of this damage being in Ontario.
- Summer storms across the Prairies caused more than $240 million in insured damage.
- A flood in Toronto on August 7th caused over $80 million in insured damage
- Ottawa-Gatineau tornadoes and windstorms on September 21st caused $295 million in insured damage.
- December storms in British Columbia that caused $37 million in insured damage.
IBC has stated that it continues to work 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, as the financial cost of climate change climbs. Actions IBC advocates for include 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.
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.