Nova Scotia Floods Cost Insurers More Than C$170 Million

August 28, 2023

An atmospheric river event that led to significant flooding in parts of Nova Scotia on July 23, 2023, is estimated to have caused over C$170 million (US$125.5 million) in insured damage, according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ), according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), quoting the Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).

This severe weather event produced more than 250 millimeters (9.8 inches) of rain in the hardest hit areas, most of that in fewer than 24 hours, leading to a provincial state of emergency, significant damage to infrastructure, and flooding to homes and businesses, the IBC said.

“The availability of overland flood insurance remains limited in high-risk flood-prone areas, and sadly, many of the properties damaged or destroyed by this event will be uninsured,” said Craig Stewart, vice-president of Climate Change and Federal Issues, IBC, in a statement.

“The reality is the total losses for this event will be significantly higher than the insured losses, largely due to the number of uninsured properties, as well as damage to public infrastructure,” he added.

“There are still over 1.5 million households in Canada that remain highly exposed to flooding and lack access to flood insurance,” Stewart said. “The increasing frequency and severity of flooding in this country has been in plain sight for years, and that is why IBC has been spearheading advocacy for investments in climate adaptation, including a national flood insurance program. We’ve seen the trends. We’ve witnessed the cost of inaction. The Trudeau government must kick into high gear to reduce the risk Canadians and their communities face.”

Buildings are seen upended on a riverbank as a man paddles a kayak through floodwater following a major rain event in Halifax on Saturday, July 22, 2023. A long procession of intense thunderstorms dumped record amounts of rain across a wide swath of Nova Scotia, causing flash flooding, road washouts and power outages. (Darren Calabrese /The Canadian Press via AP)

Insured severe weather damage in Canada now routinely exceeds C$2 billion (US$1.5 billion) annually, with water-related damage responsible for most of the losses, the IBC said, noting that there have been 35 catastrophic flooding events across Canada over the past decade in which insured losses exceeded C$30 million (US$22.1 million) per flood.

Total insured losses from these events averaged close to C$800 million (US$590.4 million) annually over the past decade.

Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is the national industry association representing Canada’s private home, auto and business insurers. Its member companies make up the vast majority of the property/casualty insurance market in Canada. The amount of insured damage is an estimate provided by CatIQ under license to IBC.

Source: Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC)

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