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Winter Storm Causes over $39 Million in Insured Damage in Eastern Canada



March 5, 2019 (HALIFAX) – A winter storm from January 23 to 25 that caused significant snowfall, freezing rain, rain and strong winds in eastern Canada has caused over $39 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. Most of the damage occurred on January 24 in Quebec, New Brunswick (NB) and Nova Scotia (NS) and was caused by flooding and strong winds. Insured damaged was close to $26 million in Quebec, over $11 million in NB, $2.1 million in NS and $270,000 in PEI.

Strong winds in NS and NB resulted in widespread power outages. NS Power reported 12,000 customers without power, and NB Power reported about 5,300 customers without power. In Moncton, NB, eight people had to evacuate an apartment building after strong winds ripped off part of the roof. Heavy rain also resulted in significant flooding in many regions of southern NB, which led to evacuations and road closures.

There were reports of submerged vehicles in Miramichi, NB, and multiple reports of road flooding in Montreal. About 42,000 Hydro-Québec customers were without power as were many residents in the Ottawa region.

As the financial cost of a changing climate rises, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is advocating for increased investment by all orders of government in mitigating the future impacts of extreme weather and building resiliency to its damaging effects. This includes advocating for new infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires, improved building codes, better land-use planning, and incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas of highest risk.

IBC reminds Canadians that it is not only insurers who foot the bill for severe weather damage. For every dollar paid out in insurance claims for homes and businesses, IBC estimates that Canadian governments pay out $3 to recover public infrastructure damaged by severe weather.

Visit IBC’s website for information on how to prepare for a disaster and ways to prevent flood damage to your home.

The amount of insured damage is an estimate provided by CatIQ Inc. www.catiq.com under license to IBC.

Quotes

"Severe weather events driven by climate change are happening more frequently and with greater intensity, especially storms involving floods and severe wind. While the insured damage from these storms is significant, the total economic cost to homeowners and governments is even greater. It is important that consumers take precautions and secure their property to minimize potential damage. They should also understand their insurance policies, and know whether they have overland flood coverage. It's key to know what's covered before storms like these, or other catastrophes, strike."
   – Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, IBC

"As a society we have to adapt to this new reality: the number of extreme weather events continues to increase. Canadians need to understand the financial and physical risks they and their families are exposed to. Better building codes, increased risk awareness and infrastructure improvements are all needed to make our communities more resilient. Consumers will also benefit from a better knowledge of what they can do in and around their homes to protect against the wrath of Mother Nature."

   – Pierre Babinsky, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, Quebec, 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 126,000 Canadians, pays $9 billion in taxes and has a total premium base of $54.7 billion.

If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-877-288-4321 or 514-288-4321 in Quebec, or at 1-844-227-5422 in Atlantic.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca or www.infoassurance.ca. Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau, @IBC_Atlantic and @BAC_Quebec.