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A Troublesome Trend: Calgary’s July 2021 hail storm damage more than double initial estimates, IBC says

Edmonton, Alberta — As we close the book on yet another eventful summer, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has opened theirs, tallying up the damage from several severe weather events that hit Western Canada over the past months.

Canada’s western half is dealing with more than $300 million in insured damage following several thunderstorm and tornado events, according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

CatIQ classifies any event where insured damage estimates exceed $30 million as a ‘catastrophe’— five of which visited Western Canada this summer.

The most costly was the July 18 to 21 tornado event that wreaked havoc across central and Western Canada. According to IBC, Reports of damage to homes, other structures, trees and power lines stretched from Southern Alberta to Quebec’s Gaspé Peninsula. The estimate currently sits at more than $100 million in insured damage.

The damage of this event was preceded by a slew of thunderstorms, and localized tornado sightings across Saskatchewan and Alberta, leading to more than $70 million in insured damages.

In its analysis of this summer’s weather-related damage, CatIQ has also provided an update to a damage estimate made for the July 2, 2021 hail storm and flooding that affected Calgary and surrounding areas.

It is now being reported that the true cost of the damage sits at more than double the initial estimate—$600 million—further cementing it as one of the top ten costliest weather events in Canadian history.

It is worth noting the proximity of the dates in the weather events listed in IBC’s press release—at no point was there more than a week separating these severe weather events from each other, and can therefore be reasoned, according to CatIQ’s standards, that Western Canada was in a state of catastrophic weather for most of July.

Craig Stewart, IBC’s v-p of climate change and federal issues spoke to the alarming frequency of these events.

“The July and August storms are a sobering reminder of the increasing risks facing communities across Canada. While the longer-term impacts of the climate crisis must be addressed, considering the increasing number of near-daily extreme weather events already occurring across Canada, we cannot wait to limit the impacts of climate change,” he said.

IBC says insurance claims from severe weather have more than quadrupled across Canada since 2008.

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