IBC: February’s Ontario storms caused $48 million in damages

Published: March 27, 2019

Updated: April 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) this week published a new report that shows a storm that affected Ontario during February resulted in tens of millions of dollars in damage.

Pointing to data from Catastrophe Indices Quantification (CatIQ), IBC says a storm that hit Ontario on February 24 and 25 caused $48 million in insurance losses. The province was hit by “damaging wind gusts, freezing rain and blizzard conditions.”

Port Colborne bore the brunt of the storm on February 24, with winds in the town reaching as high as 128 kilometres an hour and regularly topping 80 kilometres per hor. Power companies reported outages for 150,000 households as the storm moved across southern Ontario, causing damage to vehicles and structures along the way.

Overnight the storm dumped freezing rain and a blizzard across the provinces. 30 centimetres of snowfall was recorded in the north, while flooding occurred in the south.

On February 25, the storm continued with persistent winds. The weather has been blamed for a near-70 car pile-up near Barrie.

Kim Donaldson, Vice-President for the IBC in Ontario attributed the storm to the increasing effects of climate change:

“Severe weather events driven by climate change are happening more frequently and with greater intensity. In particular, storms with severe winds and that cause flooding are becoming more common.

“While the insured damage from these storms is significant, the total economic cost to homeowners and governments is even greater. It is important that property owners take precautions and protect their properties to minimize potential damage. They should also understand their insurance policies and know whether they have overland flood coverage. It’s key to know what’s covered before catastrophes, such as this winter storm, strike.”