Two severe weather events in Ontario caused over $70 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).*
“Severe weather events driven by climate change are happening more frequently and with greater intensity,” said Kim Donaldson, the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s vice-president for Ontario. “While the insured damage from these storms is significant, the total economic cost to homeowners and governments is even greater. It is important that property owners take precautions and protect their properties to minimize potential damage. They should also understand their insurance policies and know whether they have overland flood coverage.”
On February 4, the temperature soared to between 10 and 15 C, breaking records across southern Ontario and causing significant snowmelt. That evening, 20 to 40 centimetres of snow blanketed northern Ontario, freezing rain and drizzle fell from Sault Ste. Marie to Ottawa, and rain fell across southern Ontario. There were widespread reports of water-related damage from this event including basement leakage, sewer backups, and burst pipes. A burst water main in downtown Toronto created two sinkholes. Roads flooded in Ottawa and Cornwall due to clogged catch basins. Total insured damage for this event was over $33 million.
On March 9, southwestern Ontario saw strong winds and warm temperatures, followed by rain, and in some areas freezing rain. In Ottawa, snow transitioned to freezing rain, and then to rain and drizzle as the day went on. Peak wind gusts of 80–100 km/h were reported from Windsor to Prince Edward County. In portions of southern Ontario, there were reports of flooding and water-related damage due to heavy rain and snowmelt. Much of the damage, which included roof and basement leaks, was caused by the melting of an unusually large snowpack in Toronto and surrounding areas. Damage included roof and basement leaks. Total insured damage totaled close to $37 million.
For every dollar that insurers pay out for these home and business claims, IBC estimates that the government pays out $3 to recover the public infrastructure that the severe weather damaged.
*Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) estimated the amount of insured damage under licence to IBC.