Canada The Fort McMurray wildfire pushed insurable damage last year to more than $4.9 billion Canada wide, a record high, according to figures released Friday by the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The regional vice president for IBC said thats only part of the story. Of that $4.9 billion, $4.3 billion is from Alberta. And thats part of a growing trend.
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Obviously the Fort McMurray wildfire skews those numbers, Bill Adams said in an interview. But when we look over the past ten years approximately 70 per cent of all insured losses as a result of severe weather across Canada, has occurred here in Alberta.
Its a combination of the terrain and the weather systems that typically come down through the mountains, Adams said. Weve also, in the case of the flooding in 2013, but we routinely as a result of that see hail events. They dont make many headlines except for the day that they occur.
IBC figures show the Alberta wildfires that forced the evacuation of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas last May resulted in about $3.7-billion in insured damage, making it the most expensive natural disaster on record. Adams adds the cost of the Fort McMurray wildfires, are already absorbed in what weve paid for insurance.
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Adams however wont venture a guess of what will happen to our insurance premiums.
Its difficult to say and Im not being elusive in that. Only because its a competitive industry, so each insurance company has their own book of business. First of all theyve all been impacted by this trend but some of them have been impacted much more severely than others, so obviously the ones that have been more impacted would be in a different situation and need to look at measures and the potential of premium increases.
READ MORE: Fort McMurray wildfire adds $500M to AB deficit in Q1
IBC is urging governments to implement policies to prepare Canadian communities for more severe weather due to global climate change.
What is happening in Edmonton is being noticed, Adams said.
We very much applaud the City of Edmonton for taking the tack that they have. The more information that consumers have about their risk, the better. Having flood maps and having risk assessments of communities in the hands of Edmontonians is a very good thing. (sj)