Fort McMurray Flooding Causes over $228 Million in Insured Damage

June 1, 2020 (EDMONTON) – The spring flooding in Fort McMurray, Alberta, caused over $228 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). The majority of the insured damage relates to commercial property, with the remaining losses affecting personal property and automobiles.

An ice jam that formed on the Athabasca River on April 26 near Fort McMurray caused water levels to rise by 4.5 to 6 metres across low-lying areas through the region. Approximately 13,000 people were evacuated from the area between Sunday, April 26, and Saturday, May 2.

Initial damage surveys conducted by regional authorities indicate that over 1,200 structures were affected by the flooding. Assessments continue as residents return to their properties. Extensive damage due to both overland flooding and sewer backup have been reported.

"Our thoughts are with the people of Fort McMurray who have been impacted by these floods. While overland flood insurance is optional coverage and fairly new to the residential market, the insurance industry is here to help its customers through this challenging time," said Celyeste Power, Vice-President, Western, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). "If you have insurance questions, please contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC. We are here to help."

In addition to the $228 million insurers have paid to cover insured damage, the Government of Alberta announced $147 million of support through the Disaster Recovery Program (DRP). If consumers have insurance, they can also likely qualify for DRP assistance. Visit or for more information.

Insurance Industry Calls for National Action Plan on Flooding

Each time a severe weather event like these floods happens, it reinforces the need to be better prepared. IBC is working with governments at all levels, the insurance industry, consumers and other stakeholders to build resilient communities in Alberta and across the country. 

Residential flood coverage is relatively new in Canada. While over 13 insurers offer overland flood coverage in Alberta, coverage for those in high-risk areas is either unaffordable or requires all insurance rate payers to subsidize it. This is why the insurance industry believes Canada needs a National Action Plan on Flooding.

This plan includes investing in resilient infrastructure to protect communities from floods, improved flood mapping measures to identify those at highest risk, programming to move those at highest risk out of harm's way, and the availability of affordable overland flood insurance to protect Canadians whose homes are at high risk of flooding.

"Flooding events like the ones in northern Alberta are costly, stressful and difficult for those affected," said Power. "IBC wants to work with all stakeholders to reduce the financial strain and stress caused by future flood events. By working together, we can ensure that all Canadians, regardless of their flood risk, can access affordable flood insurance."

For more information on the spring floods and insurance, please visit IBC's dedicated webpage: Spring flooding in Alberta – IBC tips and information for residents.

The amount of insured damage is an estimate provided by CatIQ ( under licence to IBC.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada's private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up 90% of the property and casualty (P&C) insurance market in Canada. For more than 50 years, IBC has worked with governments across the country to help make affordable home, auto and business insurance available for all Canadians. IBC supports the vision of consumers and governments trusting, valuing and supporting the private P&C insurance industry. It champions key issues and helps educate consumers on how best to protect their homes, cars, businesses and properties.

P&C insurance touches the lives of nearly every Canadian and plays a critical role in keeping businesses safe and the Canadian economy strong. It employs more than 128,000 Canadians, pays $9.4 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $59.6 billion.

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If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.