Ontario windstorms costliest insurance event in province since 2013

Published: June 3, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) has confirmed the early May windstorm that hit Ontario was a rare event catastrophe that was the costliest insurance loss since the 2013 Toronto floods. In a report on Friday, CatIQ said the total damage in the province and in Quebec totalled $410 million.

However, Ontario was hit hardest, with $380 million in damages recorded in the region. While it is the second largest insurance event in the province for five years, it is still considerably less that the $1 billion in damages recorded in Toronto in 2013.

The windstorm occurred on May 4 and caused considerable damage through Ontario and parts of Quebec. Roof damage was most commonly reported, while felled trees caused structural damage and blocked roads. Power outages were also frequent, CatIQ points out.

Winds reached hurricane force of up to 150 km/h in Ontario.

“It has been quite a damaging year so far,” said Kim Donaldson, vice president, Ontario, with Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “This year alone insurers have already paid out three-quarters of a billion dollars, just five months into 2018.”

2018 has been a challenging one for Ontario, with the following major events already occurring in the province:

  • January – Winter storm damage in Toronto, London and southwestern Ontario of nearly $10 million;
  • February – Water and winter storm damage in southern Ontario of over $40 million;
  • Early April – Wind and rain storm damage in southern Ontario topping $79 million;
  • Mid-April – Winter storm and ice storm in Toronto and southwestern Ontario of over $187 million;
  • May – Windstorm damages of $380 million across Ontario.

Said Donaldson: “Insured losses from extreme weather storms have been increasing rapidly. However, this is only part of the picture. Taxpayers are bearing the brunt of the costs that are not covered by insurance. Consumers are witnessing more frequent, intense storms, which we now know are attributable to climate change.”