IBC: $57 insurance losses from Ontario and Quebec storms

Published: March 22, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



This week, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) put a financial number on the recent storms and floods that swept through Southern Ontario and Quebec this winter. The Bureau says the storm and flood event caused more than $57 million in insurance losses, citing data from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

Between February 19 and 22, 2018, a severe storm hit Southern Ontario, affecting areas in London, Cambridge, Chatham-Kent, parts of the Greater Toronto Area, and most significantly Brantford. Caused by a slow-moving system of high pressure, the storms caused unseasonably high temperatures and rains, also affecting Quebec’s Eastern Townships.

$43 million of the total damages were in Ontario, where Brantford alone suffered insurance damage of over $25 million. The remaining $14 million in total losses were in Quebec.

“Climate change is causing severe weather events more frequently throughout the year, especially storms involving floods,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, IBC.

“Since flooding can cause significant damage in a very short time, it is important for consumers to know what their policies cover and whether they have overland flood protection. Consumers should check with their insurance representatives to see what options are available to them.”

Earlier this month, Aon Benfield says it expects the insured losses in Brantford will be tens of millions (US Dollars). Southern Ontario has been hit by heavy rainfall over the last month, focused mostly on the Brantford and Waterloo areas. 5,000 people were evacuated from their homes after ice jams and broken river banks caused overland flooding.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has already said the flooding highlights the problems Canadian insurers face, calling the water a “wakeup call”. Companies offer water damage cover but will need further help from the government, the IBC said.

“It was obvious from those conversations that there was a whole range of water damage that people suffered,” said Pete Karageorgos, IBC’s director of consumer and industry relations in Ontario. “In some cases, people had water in their basement, but there was no water around the outside of their homes. In other cases, they were immediately beside the river that in some spots the water there overflowed from the breakwall, which is fairly high up.”

The city has reported “at least 30-50 homes in the assessment area have confirmed water infiltration – verification will follow once inspections are fully completed as several properties still need to be entered.”