The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) explored why 2022 ranks as the third worst year for insured losses in Canadian history, noting that severe weather last year led to $3.1 billion in insured damage.
IBC said while the $3.1-billion figure is alarming, no single catastrophic event or region accounted for most of the losses. By comparison, 2016 – the highest loss year on record – had the Fort McMurray wildfire which accounted for 75 per cent of national losses that year.
In 2022, severe weather events included Hurricane Fiona, the Ontario and Quebec derecho, the Eastern Canada late-winter storm, the Western Canada summer storms and the Eastern Canada bomb cyclone.
Citing data from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ), IBC gave the following breakdown of last year’s insured damage:
- Eastern Canada late-winter storm, Feb. 17-19 - $140 million
- Manitoba/Northwestern Ont. flooding, April 22-25 - $60 million
- Ontario and Quebec derecho, May 21 - $1 billion
- Ontario and Quebec severe storms, June 16-17 - $50 million
- Western Canada summer storms, July-August - $300 million
- Hurricane Fiona, Sept. 23-24 - $800 million
- Eastern Canada bomb cyclone, Dec. 22-26 - $180 million
- B.C. winter storm and king tide, Dec. 23-27 - $80 million
“There was an unprecedented number of catastrophes in 2022, including now two of the top 10 events in Canadian history,” said CatIQ president and CEO Laura Twidle in CatIQ’s release of the catastrophe data. “As our exposure and severe weather frequency increase, we all must come together to find unique solutions to mitigate the impacts to extreme events.”
“Canada is increasingly a riskier place to live, work and insure,” said IBC vice president of climate change and federal issues Craig Stewart.
Stewart added this spring, the federal government needs to lead the way in finalizing a National Adaptation Strategy while funding community-level infrastructure and property-level retrofits that increase disaster resilience.
“In particular, we’re seeing early signs that property insurance may become less affordable or even unavailable as global reinsurers shift capacity away from riskier countries,” Stewart stated. “Now is the time for Canadian insurers and governments to partner on a National Flood Insurance Program to ensure Canadian homeowners remain financially resilient in the face of these growing number and severity of events.”
Storms and flooding are not the only disasters Canadians should be preparing for. In a recent interview, IBC vice president of Western and Pacific and BC Earthquake Alliance vice president Aaron Sutherland mentioned that “we can’t overlook the ongoing risk of a major earthquake – and we must prepare accordingly, both physically and financially.” The vice president also warned that BC is the most seismically active province in Canada.
Source: Insurance Business Canada