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Ontario and Quebec ice storms cost insurers more than $85 million

By: Jessica Mach on May 7, 2018

The severe ice storm that hit Ontario and Quebec in April cost insurers more than $85 million in claims, according to data from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.   

Over the course of three days, 12 centimetres of ice pellets and 79 millimetres of rain accumulated at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, said a release by the City of Toronto. The city endured falling ice pellets for a total of 18 hours, freezing rainfall for six hours, and regular rainfall for ten.

At the Billy Bishop Airport, which is located in downtown Toronto, winds reached 96 km per hour — a speed that is categorized as a bonafide storm on the Beaufort scale, which the Canadian government uses to measure wind force.

Unfortunately, this was not the only storm to hit Canada this year.

Over the past 12 months, insurers have paid out more than half a billion dollars in insured losses in Ontario alone, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

A windstorm hit the Hamilton and Niagara regions in March 2017, costing insurers more than $100 million in damage. In May 2017, flooding in Peterborough and Minden cost insurers $50 million, and a few months later, in August 2017, insurers were eventually hit with more than $160 million in expenses when floods hit Windsor (the damage was originally estimated to cost $124 million). Ottawa, Burlington, Kingston, Toronto, London, and southwestern Ontario were also sites of severe weather conditions.

Craig Stewart, vice president of federal affairs at IBC, says it’s not going to get better. “We are witnessing more frequent, intense storms which we now know are attributable to climate change,” he said in a statement.

Financially speaking, insurance companies are not the only ones bearing the costs of repairs. “Taxpayers are also bearing the brunt of these costs since many losses are uninsured,” Stewart added. 

 

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