Southern Ontario hardest hit by Sandy

Claims are coming in, but still too early to predict Canadian losses

When Hurricane Sandy tore through the northeastern United States on Monday, homes, businesses and transit lines were flooded and damaged by fierce winds.

Though the effects of the “superstorm” were not as extreme in Canada, insurance companies and adjusting firms say they’ve seen a spike in claims related to Sandy.

Read: Superstorm Sandy wreaks havoc in US

“We’ve seen a steady stream of claims coming through to our business,” said Warren Tom, senior vice-president and managing director, central region, for FirstOnSite Restoration. Warren said FirstOnSite has seen “well over 200 claims” in two days.

“It is no surprise the bulk of the claims that are coming are wind claims, but we’re seeing significant water claims and other types, [such as] sewer backup, tree falls, things that you would normally expect with a windstorm and continued rain for the past five days,” he said.

His comments were echoed by Michael Morris, vice-president, national operations for Cunningham Lindsey.

“We did see a spike in claims in Ontario and our CAT team responded to those,” said Morris. “They’ve been wind and water claims and some ranging [from] severe structural with large trees on top of homes to a couple of inches of water in some basements.”

Alex Walker, claims relationship manager at RSA, said the majority of the claims his company has seen have been in Ontario.

“We haven’t had any claims reported for Atlantic Canada yet. We’ve had a minimal number reported for Quebec,” Walker told Canadian Insurance Top Broker on Friday morning. “Specifically, they’ve been in the Greater Toronto Area, they’ve been in Toronto. There have been some claims in Niagara and the Sarnia-Windsor area.”

Read: Sandy’s strong winds and heavy rain lash Ontario and Quebec 

“Communities have been hit differently,” said Tom. “We’ve seen a lot of business in the southwestern core of Ontario.”

Though the industry is starting to see claims come in, everyone agrees that it’s still too early to predict Sandy’s impact on the industry.

“It is still early days, we are still seeing some claims come in,” said Walker. “We won’t see the full extent of the damage or the exposures for some time.”

One thing is certain though, Canada was lucky to (largely) escape Sandy’s wrath.

“We look at the States and count ourselves fortunate that no one suffered serious damage to that degree,” said Tom.

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