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March Madness: Storm in March caused $50-million in insured damage in eastern Canada

Toronto, Ontario —  A storm that moved across eastern Canada from March 26 to 29, caused $50 million in insured damage, according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). 

Damage reports associated with the storm that brought heavy rain and strong winds spanned the region, from basements being flooded in southern Ontario to roofs being torn off homes in western Newfoundland and Labrador. 

According to a release by the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the storm caused $19 million in insured damages in Ontario, $21 million in Quebec, $1 million in New Brunswick, $7 million in Nova Scotia and $2 million in Newfoundland and Labrador. Bringing the total to $50 million in insured damages. 

“Insured losses related to natural catastrophic events averaged $2 billion per year between 2009 and 2020, compared with an average of $422 million per year in the 1983 to 2008 period. Last year alone, these losses were $2.4 billion. That’s more than a four-fold increase in such losses caused by severe weather events, which are increasingly attributed to climate change,” said Craig Stewart, vice-president, Federal Affairs, IBC.

Taxpayers and insurers share the cost for severe weather damage, says IBC. For every dollar paid in insurance claims for  homes and businesses damaged by severe weather, all levels of government and taxpayers pay much more to repair public infrastructure. 

Yet, Canada still lacks a national climate adaptation strategy with measurable targets and the accompanying investments needed to protect Canadian homes and businesses from natural disasters, says IBC. 

Canadians continue to experience accelerating financial losses from the changing climate. In 2020, however, the federal government created the Task Force on High-Risk Residential Flood Insurance and Strategic Relocation. 

Through this task force, insurers work with governments across the country to better protect properties from flooding and to ensure that every Canadian is able to access affordable flood insurance. 

Currently, this is a standalone effort, says IBC. The insurer says it should be part of a larger climate adaptation plan that coordinates action by governments and the private sector to address the growing physical risks of climate change.

Visit IBC’s website for information. 

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