Does Canada have enough adjusters to handle frequent CAT events?

Published: June 26, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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It is widely accepted that natural disaster frequency will increase over the next century due to climate change. The chance of back-to-back catastrophes is growing, but is Canada’s property and casualty equipped and prepared to handle such a scenario?

Ontario has already been put through a smaller scale test in 2018. The province was hit by a major ice storm in April which resulted in $200 million in insured damage. Worse was to come two weeks later when a windstorm of hurricane force hit Ontario and Quebec, costing $410 million. The latter was the costliest insurance event in Ontario since the $1 billion Toronto floods of 2013.

The province is struggling to cope with these double events, so how problematic would two major catastrophes on the scale of the 2013 Toronto event be? Is Canada equipped with enough adjusters to cope in these frequent catastrophe times:

“Probably not,” said Marie Gallagher in an interview with Canadian Underwriter. Gallagher is the branch manager of Kernaghan Adjusters in St. Catharines, Ont. She says adjusters, “for many years now, they are no longer assigning the claims that we need for our adjuster-trainees to cut their teeth on.”

RSA Canada national property claims director Ron Biggs discussed how the company works with trusted partners in times of crisis. “Our approach to onboarding adjusters, contractors included, is by peril and geography,” Biggs said. “While wind and hail are easier catastrophes from a claims perspective, fire and water cats can involve bringing on additional adjusters with that specific expertise to complement the RSA team’s efforts.

“As for managing claims by phone, this is something all insurers are doing. It doesn’t just save costs but also expedites claims resolution.”