July 20th, 2024

Western Canada’s cold snap in January causes $180 million in insurance damages

By The Canadian Press on March 11, 2024.

Extreme cold near the start of this year in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan has led to a damage bill that the Insurance Bureau of Canada says is more than $180 million. An ice fog hangs over neighbourhoods in Calgary on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

VANCOUVER – Extreme cold near the start of this year in British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan has led to a damage bill that the Insurance Bureau of Canada says is more than $180 million.

The bureau says about 70 per cent of the insurance claims related to the extreme cold were for personal property and damage caused by frozen and burst water pipes.

The cold moved in Jan. 12, breaking dozens of daily minimum records, including in Edmonton where there were four straight days of cold ranging from minus 40 to minus 45 degrees.

Rob de Pruis, the national director, consumer and industry relations with the bureau, says with the frequency and severity of destructive weather events increasing, so are the financial costs for insurers and taxpayers.

The bureau says in a statement that the $180 million is an initial estimate and it highlights the growing cost pressures on premiums that people have to pay.

De Pruis says insurance policies are limited when people are away from their home during heating season, requiring someone else to check every day or every second day to ensure damage is minimized when found early.

“We all must do better to protect ourselves from loss or damage resulting from natural disasters, which continue to have an outsized impact on the most vulnerable,” de Pruis says in the statement.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 11, 2024.

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