Newfoundland Winter Storm Caused $25 Million in Insured Damage

March 11, 2020 (HALIFAX) – The record-breaking blizzard in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, on January 17 and 18 caused $25 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).*

The storm brought more than 75 cm of snow and wind that reached hurricane speeds of 160 km/hour. The city of St. John’s declared a state of emergency on January 17, which lasted until January 25. The strong winds damaged homes and vehicles. The record-breaking amounts of snow led to sewer backups, ground water seepage, water leaking through walls and windows, and collapsed roofs and walls.

“This winter wallop is just the latest extreme storm to hit our region,” said Amanda Dean, Vice-President, Atlantic, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “The ferocity of this storm was only outdone by the resilience of the people whose lives it disrupted and whose homes it damaged. It’s important to keep in mind that the $25-million price tag is just the insured damage. 

The uninsured cost to homeowners and governments still needs to be factored into the total cost of this event,” added Dean.

“As the spring draws near and temperatures warm, we are hoping for slow melts during the day and cold temperatures at night to mitigate the potential for flooding,” said Dean. “IBC also wants to help make sure that Newfoundland and Labrador residents are ready to deal with any potential flood damage as the snow melts,” concluded Dean.

Many Canadian insurers now offer overland flood insurance for homeowners. Along with sewer backup coverage, this coverage helps reduce the financial risk of a flood. However, prevention is always the best answer. 

IBC is offering advice to help people prepare their homes for and prevent water damage. Click here for IBC’s Top 10 Tips on flood preparation. Consumers may also wish to consult their insurance representative to find out what types of water damage their insurance policy covers and what additional coverage options are available to them. 

Visit IBC’s website for information on how to prepare for a disaster.

*CatIQ estimated the amount of insured damage under licence to IBC. For more information on CatIQ, visit

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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