Quebec homeowners facing insurance gap following tornadoes

Published: October 23, 2018

Updated: October 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



Last month, parts of Ontario and Quebec (Ottawa-Gatineau) were hit by six tornados, including an EF2 and an EF3. Indeed, the EF3 storm was the strongest to happen in September or later in over a century. Homeowners in Quebec are now facing an insurance problem, where many do not have coverage to protect themselves.

60 homes were damaged in Ontario’s Dunrobin and 215 buildings took damage in Gatineau. In the regions, many homeowners are without home insurance.

“They don’t have insurance,” Craig Stewart of the Insurance Bureau of Canada told CBC News. “They are at the good graces of [the] governments, Red Cross, and any donations the community can provide to support them.”

Glenn McGillivray, managing director for the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) says the last F3 twister to touch down in September occurred in Merritton, Ont. In 1898.

“So, the Dunrobin tornado can be considered quite rare from a strength versus time of the year perspective,” McGillivray told Canadian Underwriter. “Also, not many tornadoes occur in this part of the province.”

Tornados of this strength have been observed in the province earlier in the year. An August 1994 storm that produced an F3 twister (while Ontario employed the normal Fujita Scale measurement system).

No Coverage

However, McGillivray predicted most homeowners will be safe as their house insurance should cover them:

McGillivray does not envision huge insurance losses, based on other tornados: “Insured damage for this event will not be as high as scenes of the damage may imply,” he said.

That’s not the case for some homeowners and renters. It is not a case of policy points but rather customers not purchasing home insurance. These two storms have highlighted how important it is for both home and rental insurance coverage to be purchased. Disaster can strike at any time and having proper protection is essential.