Spring thaw claims $70 million from insurers in Ontario

Published: April 9, 2019

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The seasonal change from winter to spring once again brought its fair share of damage to communities across Ontario. In a new press release, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) says the spring thaw caused over $70 million in insured damages in Ontario.

Sudden shifts in temperature from below freezing to mild caused plenty of damage across the province. A cold snap in February produced a deep freeze. However, that near-record-breaking cold front gave way to a mild March which produced rain, leading to ice jams, snowmelt, and flooding.

IBC points out temperatures increased by a record-breaking 10-15 degrees on February 4, causing huge snowmelt. That same day, 20-40 centimetres of snow fell in northern parts of the province, which some communities saw large quantities of rain and sleet. Southern Ontario was hit by heavy rains and claims surged related to water damage as floods took hold.

IBC says this single event cost insurance companies $33 million.

“Throughout portions of southern Ontario there were reports of flooding and water-related damage due to heavy rain and snowmelt,” IBC said.

“Much of the damage was in Toronto and surrounding areas, caused by the melting of an unusually large snowpack. Damage included roof and basement leaks.”

Pointing to data from Catastrophe Indices Quantification (CatIQ), IBC said last month 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.