Spring NB, Quebec, and Ontario Floods cost insurers $208 million

Published: July 4, 2019

Updated: August 1, 2019

Author: Luke Jones



Few in the insurance industry believed the spring floods across Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick would be anything other than a catastrophe event. Now, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has detailed the extent of the losses incurred by the overland floods.

In a press release, the private P&C industry representative revealed the floods across three provinces caused $208 million in insured damages, according to data from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification (CatIQ).

CatIQ classifies a catastrophe event as a natural disaster that results in insurance losses above $25 million, a figure the spring floods comfortably surpassed.

IBC says overflowing rivers caused most of the damage, bringing damage to roads and basement flooding to homes. Spillovers also resulted in home foundations moving and vehicles being submerged. The next most damaging cause was heavy rain, which brought sewer backups and roof leaks.

Snowmelt and heavy rain in Quebec, Ontario, and New Brunswick has already caused water levels to be high across the provinces before the storms and floods came. Ontario was the worst hit, with $127 million in insured damage, while Quebec suffered $74 million in insured damage. Finally, New Brunswick received $6 million.

Home insurance claims were the most frequent during the event, resulting in $160 million in insured damage. Businesses were hit hard by the floods, with $40 million in damage reported, while auto insurance damages totaled over $10 million.

In its press release, the IBC once again pressed the need of a National Action Plan on Flooding.

“As the financial cost of a changing climate rises and as Canadians head to a federal election, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is advocating that all political parties in the upcoming federal election commit to a National Action Plan on Flooding. This Action Plan would prioritize citizen awareness and education on the risk of flooding, relocating and protecting those at the greatest risk of repeated flooding, developing high-risk insurance mechanisms for those residents remaining in high risk areas and denying disaster assistance to new buildings in floodplains.

Crucial to all of this is increased investment from the federal government in mitigating the future impacts of extreme weather and building resilience to its damaging effects.”