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Media Releases 2013

August 14, 2013

Preliminary insured losses released in the most expensive natural disaster in Ontario history - IBC expects the number to go even higher

August 14 , 2013 (TORONTO) – In a matter of hours on July 8, a severe thunderstorm with heavy, intense rainfall caused flash flooding and set a record for Ontario insured damages arising from a single natural disaster. Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) reports that the preliminary estimate of insured property damage caused by this thunderstorm is more than $850 million.

Ralph Palumbo, IBC Vice-President for Ontario, said: “While these preliminary estimates are staggering, we do expect them to go even higher.  The good news is that our industry was well prepared to handle our obligations to customers.”

But Palumbo offered this warning: “Damage caused by more frequent severe weather is just another situation our members must prepare for.  The Ontario government is urged to acknowledge this and to exercise caution when it comes to imposing auto insurance premium and return-on-equity reductions without first introducing reforms that will reduce costs in the product.   Without such savings, the government is almost certain to make a bad situation worse, ultimately for consumers.”

The preliminary estimate is reported by The PCS-Canada Service, a service that tracks insured losses arising from catastrophic events in Canada.

Between July 8 and 9, the storm, with its record rainfall in Toronto, led to a power outage affecting at least 300, 000 residents in Canada’s largest city, shut down subways, and left approximately 1,400 passengers stranded for hours on a commuter train filled with water. The torrential rains washed out sections of track across the GO Transit rail system causing numerous delays and system shutdowns.  Both Toronto Pearson International Airport and Toronto Island Airport reported significant delays and cancellations.

Since IBC and The PCS-Canada Service started collecting data on insured losses caused by extreme weather events in Ontario, the following events have been the most expensive:

  • July 8-9, 2013 – $850 million (wind and thunderstorm event)
  • Aug 19, 2005 – $671 million (wind/rain storm)*
  • July 24-28, 2009 – $ 228 million (heavy rain)*

 
IBC has been providing residents with practical information on assessing damage, filing claims and resolving disputes, and coordinating with governments at the municipal, provincial and federal levels on issues linked to flood response and recovery. IBC and its members are doing everything they can to advance claim requests to ensure that policyholders can return to normal life as quickly as possible.

The PCS-Canada Service will re-survey insurers in 60 days to update its estimate of the total insured losses.

Data about insured damage is from The PCS-Canada Service. Subscribers to The PCS-Canada Service can access detailed reports by logging on to www.pcs-canada.com.

*expressed in 2012 dollars

As a side note, IBC does not have a preliminary estimate of insured damages for Alberta that we are willing to release as work continues on the ground to determine the full extent of insured losses and to settle claims. Any tabulation, at this point, is changing almost daily. We will eventually release a number but it will take more time.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada
Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, car and business insurers. Its member companies represent approximately 90% of the private property and casualty insurance market in Canada. The P&C insurance industry employs 118,600 Canadians, pays more than $7 billion in taxes to the federal, provincial and municipal governments, and has a total premium base of $46 billion.

To view media releases and other information, visit the media section of IBC’s website at www.ibc.ca. Follow IBC on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook.

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If you require more information, IBC spokespeople are available to discuss the details in this media release.

To schedule an interview, please contact:

Helen Lialias
Media Relations Officer
Insurance Bureau of Canada
416-362-2031 x 4312
hlialias@ibc.ca

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