Auto Insurance

Major Ontario snow storm led to a spike in auto collisions in the GTA

By: Jessica Mach on January 31, 2019

The winter storm that hit Toronto earlier this week caused a large number of car crashes over a 24-hour period, but activity around car insurance claims has stayed surprisingly low.

A substantial 26.4 cm of snow blanketed the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) on Monday, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada, while Tuesday saw a top-up of another 7 cm. Within that brief time frame, the Ontario Provincial Police recorded 300 car crashes in the GTA.

One crash involved a car hitting a transport truck after losing control in the snow. The truck rolled into a ditch. Another incident saw a car crashing into a house — one person was seriously injured, and the front of the building itself was damaged.

In a third incident, three vehicles hit each other head-on, seriously injuring one person. Two other people sustained minor injuries.

Despite the spike in collisions, though, auto insurance claims have not seen a proportional increase, a large adjusting firm told Canadian Underwriter on Wednesday. Ontario’s Crawford & Company (Canada) Inc. only saw “a marginal increase in call volume” on Jan. 28, “which seems to have tapered off,” said vice president Brent Hackett.

In contrast, a major snowstorm that hit southern Ontario earlier in the month, between Saturday, Jan. 19 and Monday, Jan. 21, triggered a “considerable spike in call volume.”

“There was about a 67% increase in call volume between this period compared to the rest of January.”

In response to this week’s storm, school buses stopped running in the GTA and several colleges and universities shut their doors early. A “significant” number of flights were either delayed or cancelled at Toronto Pearson International Airport on Monday.

As of the second quarter of 2018, the average gross collision appraisal value in Canada was $3,917, according to a report from Mitchell International.