ICLR calls for national standard to better prepare for wind events

Published: April 26, 2019

Updated: June 3, 2019

Author: Luke Jones

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While water and fire are often widely reported as the costliest natural events for homeowners and insurers, high winds are increasingly becoming as dangerous. The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) said this week wind is now a major problem and a national standard on wind protection is needed.

In a joint report, the ICLR and the Standards Council of Canada suggest the creation of a national standard that will look at residential mitigation for win across Canada.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) 2018 Facts of the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry of Canada says between 1983 and 2017, over 210 catastrophe events were reported in Canada. A cat event is an event that results in $25 million or more in insured damage. Of those 210 cat events, one hundred and thirty-five (64%) had involvement from wind, such as a tornado, windstorm, or hurricane.

Indeed, in 2018 the country’s costliest insurance event was caused by wind. Southern Ontario and Quebec were both hit by winds up to 126 km/h last May, resulting in downed power lines, road closures, and residential overland flooding. This single event cost insurance companies $622 million. Tornados followed in the same provinces during the fall, taking total wind damage losses close to $1 billion.

Dan Sandik, director of research for ICLR, spoke to Canadian Underwriter and said the report hopes to be a foundation for a new wind resilience standard. In the report, the ICLR details four major categories for protecting homes against winds:

• Roofs
• Walls and upper and lower storey connections
• Anchoring of the building to the foundation
• Additional construction details, such as garage doors.