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Post-tropical storm Fiona most costly weather event to ever hit Atlantic Canada, new estimate says

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According to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. original estimates, Post Tropical Storm Fiona caused $660 million in insured losses.

The Canadian Insurance Authority said Wednesday that the storm was the most costly extreme weather event ever recorded in Atlantic Canada in terms of insured losses based on estimates provided by CatIQ.

The IBC added that many of those affected by the storms are located in high-risk flood areas and flood plains where residential flood insurance is not available.

As a result, the agency said the overwhelming majority of the costs of the disaster were borne by the government.

The storm made landfall in Nova Scotia on September 24th, ripping through the region and cutting power to more than 500,000 customers at sea.

The hurricane caused winds of over 100 kilometers per hour, torrential rains, flooding, fallen trees, and killed several people, the IBC said.

The storm swept at least 20 homes into the sea, mostly in Port Aubasque, NL, the agency said.

According to IBC, more than half of the insured losses are in Nova Scotia, with more than $385 million, followed by Prince Edward Island with more than $220 million insured losses.

According to the IBC, the second most expensive extreme weather event in Atlantic Canada was Hurricane Juan in 2003 at $192 million.

According to the IBC, post-tropical storm Fiona was the most expensive extreme weather event in Atlantic Canada, but was the 10th most expensive natural catastrophe in Canada as measured by insurance claims.

The 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire topped the list with $4 billion. Five of Canada’s 10 most devastating natural disasters, including the 2021 British Columbia floods ($675 million) and the 2020 Alberta hailstorms ($1.2 billion), have occurred in the last 5 years. occurred within a year.

According to the IBC, severe weather claims have more than quadrupled across Canada since 2008, with catastrophic loss claims in Canada reaching $2 billion annually.

This compares to an annual average of $632 million from 2001 to 2010, according to IBC.

IBC Atlantic Vice President Amanda Dean said Canada needs to be more resilient to extreme weather events as climate change is taking its toll.

“Climate change is real and the death tolls, mental upheavals and economic impacts we have witnessed should be a call to action. Protecting Canadians must be a priority,” Dean said in a news release Wednesday.

Experts say Hurricane Fiona has highlighted gaps in home insurance coverage as much of the damage was not covered.

Home insurance usually requires add-ons to cover floods, but even those add-ons usually don’t cover storm surge damage.

Perhaps the only insurance that covers storm surge damage is provided by Co-operators Group Ltd., which began offering storm surge insurance to homeowners in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia in 2018.

The IBC is a member of federal, state and territory task forces on flood insurance and relocation and has advocated for a nationwide public-private flood insurance program for residents in high-risk areas, the organization said.

“Canada should prioritize work on a National Adaptation Strategy, including a high-risk flood insurance pool, to address climate-related hazards such as extreme heat, wildfires, floods, storms and hail. It is imperative that we strengthen our cooperation with the private sector to protect Canadians from these events,” the IBC said in a release.

The agency also provided a state-by-state breakdown of insurance loss estimates.

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