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Nova Scotia flooding causes over $170 million in insured damage

Insurance industry urges federal government to accelerate investments in adaptation

Aug 24, 2023 | NS
Nova Scotia flooding causes over $170 million in insured damage News Article Image

An atmospheric river event that led to significant flooding in parts of Nova Scotia on July 23, 2023, is estimated to have caused over $170 million in insured damage, according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). This severe weather event produced more than 250 millimeters of rain in the hardest hit areas, most of that in fewer than 24 hours, leading to a provincial state of emergency, significant damage to infrastructure, and flooding to homes and businesses.  

“Homes, cars and businesses can be replaced and repaired, but first and foremost our thoughts continue to be with those who lost loved ones due to the flooding,” said Graham Little, Interim Vice-President, Atlantic, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC). “To residents who suffered insured property losses, Canada’s insurers are here to support you with the recovery and rebuilding. Our member insurers are working diligently to service a large number of claims, not only from this flooding event, but also from the recent wildfires. We ask for your patience and that you work closely with your insurance representative. They are on your side and committed to helping you through this event.”

Anyone with questions about home, business or vehicle insurance is encouraged to call IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC (1-844-227-5422). IBC has also created a webpage, Nova Scotia Floods, which provides additional insurance information to help affected residents understand insurance coverage and the various stages of the claims process.

“The availability of overland flood insurance remains limited in high-risk flood-prone areas, and sadly, many of the properties damaged or destroyed by this event will be uninsured,” said Craig Stewart, Vice-President of Climate Change and Federal Issues, IBC. “The reality is the total losses for this event will be significantly higher than the insured losses, largely due to the number of uninsured properties, as well as damage to public infrastructure.”

“There are still over 1.5 million households in Canada that remain highly exposed to flooding and lack access to flood insurance,” added Stewart. “The increasing frequency and severity of flooding in this country has been in plain sight for years, and that is why IBC has been spearheading advocacy for investments in climate adaptation, including a national flood insurance program. We’ve seen the trends. We’ve witnessed the cost of inaction. The Trudeau government must kick into high gear to reduce the risk Canadians and their communities face.”

Insured severe weather damage in Canada now routinely exceeds $2 billion annually, with water-related damage responsible for most of the losses. Over the last decade, there have been 35 catastrophic flooding events across Canada in which insured losses exceeded $30 million per flood. Total insured losses from these events averaged close to $800 million annually over the last decade. IBC continues to work in close collaboration with the federal government, provinces and territories to improve Canada’s climate defence and build Canada’s resilience to climate change.

About Insurance Bureau of Canada

Insurance Bureau of Canada is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up the vast majority 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.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at Follow us on Twitter @IBC_Atlantic and 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.