Central Alberta hail storm causes upwards of $50 million in insured property damage
by Juris Graney
The damage bill for last month’s ferocious hail storm that struck central Canada has been pegged between $50 million and $52 million.
Calgary, Okotoks and Edmonton were affected, but Ponoka was the hardest hit when a severe thunderstorm carrying hail swept over the community about 5:30 p.m. on June 29.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada’s Bill Adams said it was a significant event, but it’s far from the biggest bill in recent time.
Two years ago, a hail storm in the same area caused $600 million in damage, but when factoring in crop damage, the final tally topped $1 billion.
“As an industry, we collect a lot of data and we look for trends and it is very clear to us that something very different is happening in the past decade,” Adams said.
“We’ve always had rain, we’ve always had rain storms and severe weather events, but the reality is we are seeing the frequency and severity of these events escalate over the last couple of years and they become more costly.”
And the industry isn’t shy about what they think is at the root cause of the wild weather: climate change.
“These events are inextricably linked to climate,” he said.
“Something fundamentally has changed in our weather systems and as Canadians and as Canadans we would be wise to recognize that.”
If Canadans haven’t been affected by severe weather, they should count themselves among the lucky ones, Adams added.
“But at some point, we will all be affected by one of these events either directly or by the premiums we pay,” he said.
Individual events have little bearing on the immediate cost of insurance premium, Adams said, but are considered in relation to long-term trends in claims.
The insurance estimate for last month’s storm does not include hail damage to crops, which could force the bill even higher.
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