Hail dominated cat events in Canada in 2016: CatIQ

Cats wreaked total of $5.2bn in insured losses last year

Nine of the 13 catastrophic events that hit Canada in 2016 involved hail, according to CatIQ.

Reviewing the cat losses of 2016 during CatIQ’s Canadian Catastrophe Conference on February 2nd in Toronto, Carolyn Rennie, managing director of CatIQ, said that, while wildfires topped the list of insured losses for the year (Canada’s costliest cat year in history), significant damage was caused by severe storms and hail.

“We had 13 catastrophes in 2016, causing approximately $4.9bn incurred losses for the Canadian insurance industry, including about $120m from loss adjustment expenses. There were at least eight notable events with losses estimated at over $17.5m each.”

Adding all this up, Rennie said, the total insured cat losses last year was $5.3bn.

“This far surpasses 2013, is like nothing I’ve ever seen and nothing we’ve experienced yet.

If we exclude Fort McMurray losses, we’re still over $1.4bn in losses, which is really just becoming the norm.”

Rennie said that, while Canada experienced two lighter cat years in 2014 and 2015, “there was no way anyone could imagine we would surpass 2013 so quickly and by so much.”

Rennie said that Alberta was the hardest hit by cats last year, even without counting the Fort McMurray fires. Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia were also hard hit.

“If we look at the impact by lines of business, it was 58 percent personal, 32 percent commercial and 10% auto. However, without Fort McMurray, auto damage jumps to 33 percent, mainly due to hail damage,” Rennie said.

“Looking at the nine years of cat data from 2008, it is very clear that the frequency and severity of cats are increasing,” she said. “And if we look at cat occurrence by province, it is clear that Alberta is where mitigation efforts need to be focused.”

2016 cats:

March – The first cat of the year was the Southern Ontario ice storm in March.

May – The Fort McMurray wildfires hit Alberta, the biggest cat of the year, which resulted in $3.7bn in insured losses.

June – Severe storms impacted the Prairies and Northern Ontario, causing significant damage in Manitoba “with winds upwards of 124km per hour and CHS-6 hail. Thunder Bay flooded with over 140mm rainfall,” Rennie said.

At the end of June additional storms swept across the Prairies, with the majority damage in Alberta due to the June 28th hail storm which saw CHS-9 (golf ball sized) hail.

July – A record seven events occurred in July, starting with another severe storm system moving across the Prairies, causing hail damage in Edmonton and significant flooding in Saskatchewan. Severe storms then impacted Ontario, with some reports of CHS-9 hail in Bradford. In mid-July, another storm impacted Alberta, causing CHS-11 (tennis ball sized) hail and flooding – Calgary was mainly impacted.

Large hail and strong winds impacted the Prairies again a couple of days later, and Saskatchewan was again hit with hail and winds.

Near the end of July, Ontario and Quebec were hit with strong winds and hail, with the majority damage occurring in Quebec.

“The final and costliest severe storm event of the year, occurred on the July-long-weekend, when large hail hit Calgary, and Fort McMurray, still recovering from the fire, was floode,” Rennie said. There was also a tornado spotted in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

September – At the end of September, 190mm rain fell in Windsor, Ontario, causing severe flooding and a state of emergency to be declared.

October – The final cat of 2016 occurred in the Atlantic provinces, where the remnants of Hurricane Matthew caused significant flooding in Cape Breton, N.S., with over 225mm reported.

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