Hailstorms in Alberta are causing an insurance headache

Published: July 22, 2019

Updated: August 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



Hailstorm events are becoming more frequent in Alberta, according to new data presented by AMA Insurance. Through 2019, the province is expected to face 40 storms during the summer, a number that has now become normal. Insurance experts are concerned by the troubling trend.

During the last decade, consistent hailstorms during the summer months have caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage which insurers have paid for.

“In the last decade, the number has been about $1 billion that the insurance industry has paid in severe weather damages across the country,” Insurance Bureau of Canada director of consumer and industry relations Rob de Pruis told Global News.

Pruis says through 2018, private insurance companies in Alberta paid over $1.9 billion to cover sever weather claims, including hailstorms.

AMA Insurance recently published a study that found 51% of all storm related insurance damage in Canada since 2010 has come from Alberta. The report also points Alberta suffering around $5 billion in insured damages from storms over the same timeframe.

Furthermore, 66% of major hailstorms in Canada happen in Alberta. While most events are smaller scale and accumulative, the largest insurance loss from hail occurred in August 2010, with nearly $400 million in damages recorded.

Alberta’s government is working on solving problems with hail, including a suppression team that works with the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society. The goal of the team is to spread silver iodide as smoke over clouds from a plane. It is believed this practice can create ice crystals that reduce the size of hail.

Hail season in Alberta runs for 15 weeks each summer and the team has been operational for three weeks. It reports hail is already large enough to cause damage, including seen eight grape-sized, seven walnut-sized, and two golf-ball sized hailstorms.

“We’re off to a busy start and I’ll say we are slightly above average for the number of storm days so far this year,” commented Terry Krauss of the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society.