Insurance Rates Feel the Heat: British Columbia summer wildfires result in $720 million in insured damages

Victoria, British Columbia – According to a recent report made by the Insurance Bureau of Canada, this summer’s wildfires in the Okanagan and Shuswap areas of British Columbia have resulted in over $720 million in insured losses.

This data–taken from initial estimates made by Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ)–represents the most costly insured event ever recorded in British Columbia and the tenth costliest in Canada’s history.

Between the two districts, the Okanagan area fires, which ran from August 15 to September 21, 2023 equate to approximately $240 million in insured damages; the Shuswap area fires, which ran from August 18 to September 25, 2023 equate to over $480 million in insured damages.

“This year’s wildfire season has broken all records in terms of the amount of land burned and damage caused to homes and businesses in BC,” said Aaron Sutherland, Vice-President, Pacific and Western, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

“Our hearts go out to every individual and family who has been impacted by these wildfires, and to the firefighters who lost their lives helping to protect our communities. The wildfires’ impact is another tragic reminder of the risk BC residents face due to climate change and the increasing frequency of natural catastrophes.”

“Canada’s insurers are here to help their customers rebuild following this devastating loss,” added Sutherland.

“Wildfire damage is covered by all standard home and business insurance policies, and anyone who has been affected by these events or has questions about their coverage should call their insurance representative. They are there to help and to support consumers with recovery and reconstruction efforts. Anyone with general insurance questions can also contact IBC’s Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.”

Source: IBC Fact Books, PCS, CatIQ, Swiss Re, Munich Re & Deloitte Values in 2022 $ CAN

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