April showers bring May flowers but in Ontario, the last few months brought a series of severe, and unique, weather events. Insured damage from an early-May windstorm affecting Ontario and parts of Quebec topped $410 million – with $380 million of this damage in Ontario alone – according to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).
For Ontario, this is the most costly insured event since the 2013 Toronto floods, which caused almost $1 billion in damage.
Widespread wind damage was reported across several regions of Ontario and parts of Quebec on Friday, May 4. Strong wind gusts lasted for several hours, leading to roof damage, downed trees and power outages.
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“It has been quite a damaging year so far,” said Kim Donaldson, vice president, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), said in prepared remarks.
IBC said this year alone insurers have already paid out $750 million, just five months into 2018.
The following is an IBC list of the major storms that have hit Ontario so far in 2018:
- January 2018 – Winter storm damage in Toronto, London and southwestern Ontario of nearly $10 million
- February 2018 – Water and winter storm damage in southern Ontario of over $40 million
- Early April 2018 – Wind and rain storm damage in southern Ontario topping $79 million
- Mid-April 2018 – Winter storm and ice storm in Toronto and southwestern Ontario of over $187 million
- May 2018 – Windstorm damages of $380 million across Ontario.
The numbers above are just the insured losses associated with these natural catastrophes and not the costs to governments, which have been growing at an even faster rate.
“Taxpayers are bearing the brunt of the costs that are not covered by insurance. Consumers are witnessing more frequent, intense storms, which we now know are attributable to climate change. The cost of climate change is real,” said Donaldson.
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