Skip to Main Content


Severe Weather in 2021 Caused $2.1 Billion in Insured Damage

Jan 18, 2022 | NATIONAL
Severe Weather in 2021 Caused $2.1 Billion in Insured Damage News Article Placeholder Image

Severe weather across Canada continues to highlight the financial costs of a changing climate to both insurers and taxpayers. Insured damage for severe weather events across Canada reached $2.1 billion last year, according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). Noteworthy severe weather events last year included the November flooding in British Columbia and summer hailstorms in Calgary, and 2021 now ranks as the sixth highest in insured losses since 1983. According to Munich Reinsurance Company, 2021's global losses from natural disasters hit $355 billion.

Insured Damage for Severe Weather Events in 2021

DateSevere Weather EventDamage
January 12Western Canada storms$134 million
March 26Eastern Canada storm$50 million
June 30Lytton, BC wildfire$102 million
July 2Calgary, AB hailstorm$500 million
July 15Barrie, Ontario-and-area tornadoes$100 million
July 22Prairie storms$120 million
August 2White Rock Lake, BC wildfire$77 million
September 7 & 22Southern Ontario storms$105 million
September 11Hurricane Larry in Atlantic Canada$25 million
November 13 British Columbia floods$515 million
December 11Eastern Canada windstorm$152 million

Canada's Top 10 Highest Loss Years on Record (loss and adjusted expenses in 2020 dollars)

RankYearTotal loss ($ billion)Notable severe weather event
120165.403Fort McMurray, Alberta, fire
220133.511Alberta floods; Greater Toronto Area floods
319982.562Quebec ice storm
420202.297Fort McMurray, Alberta, flood; Calgary hailstorm
520182.176Multiple events: Ontario and Quebec rainstorms and windstorms
620212.011Calgary hailstorm; British Columbia floods
720111.787Slave Lake, Alberta, fire and windstorm
820121.495Calgary rainstorm
920191.416Multiple events
1020051.335Ontario rainstorm

Sources 1983--2007: IBC, PCS Canada, Swiss Re, Deloitte. 2008--2021: CatIQ.

"Canada must now prioritize climate defence. A National Adaptation Strategy, currently under development, must propose measurable and concrete actions to protect Canadians by 2030. The 2022 Federal Budget should allocate robust funding to implement this Strategy if we are to protect Canadians from the flood, wildfire, heat, wind, and hail events already growing in frequency and severity," said Craig Stewart, Vice-President, Federal Affairs, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

"Climate change is real, and the fatalities, emotional turmoil, and financial consequences we've recently witnessed must be a call to action -- we must adapt now. Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is a foundational step to limit our future risks from climate change, but we need funded measures implemented immediately to protect us from the worsening severe weather that is already happening. Canada's national climate plan will remain incomplete until such measures are identified and implemented.

"In today's world of extreme weather events, the new normal for yearly insured catastrophic losses in Canada has become $2 billion, most of it due to water-related damage. Compare this to the period between 1983 and 2008, when Canadian insurers averaged only $422 million a year in severe weather-related losses."

The insurance industry has been advocating for action on flooding for years. IBC's advocacy on its National Action Plan on Flooding resulted in the federal government establishing the Task Force on Flood Insurance and Relocation in late 2020. The Task Force commenced its work in January 2021 and is scheduled to submit its final report by spring 2022.

IBC is also a member of the national coalition Climate Proof Canada, which is advocating for adaptation as part of the national climate plan. The insurance industry has dedicated funding for, and supported the development of, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation. In the absence of reliable flood maps, the industry also funded Canada's first national flood model. In addition, IBC is engaging with senior Government of Canada officials about rebalancing disaster assistance and insurance to improve consumer outcomes.

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.

For media releases and more information, visit IBC's Media Centre at 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.