Ontario Winter Storm Causes Over $48 Million in Insured Damage

March 25, 2019 (TORONTO) – The storm that hit Ontario on February 24 and 25, 2019, with damaging wind gusts, freezing rain and blizzard conditions caused over $48 million in insured damage, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).*

On February 24, wind gusts reached 80 to 115 kilometres an hour, peaking at 128 kilometres an hour in Port Colborne, Ontario. The strong winds caused widespread power outages and damage across much of southern Ontario. The most significant wind damage was in the Niagara and Hamilton regions. Hydro One reported that power outages affected more than 150,000 customers across the province.

Overnight on February 24, freezing rain fell, followed by a blizzard, with 30 centimetres of snow falling across northern Ontario. In southern Ontario, rain preceded the snow, falling on deep snowpack and frozen ground, causing ponding and flooding.

The strong winds and blowing snow created poor driving conditions. On February 25, a pile-up involving almost 70 vehicles occurred near Barrie, Ontario.

As the financial cost of severe weather rises, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is advocating that all levels of government increase their investment in mitigating the impact of extreme weather and building resiliency to its damaging effects. IBC is also campaigning for upgraded 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 at highest risk of flooding.

It is not only insurers that foot the bill for severe weather damage. For every dollar that insurers pay out for home and business claims, IBC estimates that the government pays out $3 to recover the public infrastructure that is 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.

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


“Severe weather events driven by climate change are happening more frequently and with greater intensity. In particular, storms with severe winds and that cause flooding are becoming more common. While the insured damage from these storms is significant, the total economic cost to homeowners and governments is even greater. It is important that property owners take precautions and protect their properties 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 catastrophes, such as this winter storm, strike."
   – Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario, 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.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at www.ibc.ca. Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceBureau or like us on Facebook. If you have a question about home, auto or business insurance, contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC.