Based on the records of Catastrophe Indices and Quantification (CatIQ), total of insured damages in 2016 reached $4.9 billion. It smashed the previous record set in 2013 at $3.2 billion. The record damages that were reported in 2016 were due to severe weather caused by climate change. In 2016, Canada’s biggest natural disaster was the Fort Murray’s wildfires where uninsured damaged reached approximately $3.7 billion. Natural disasters are costing Canada billions in damages annually.
Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry is requesting governments across the country to join hands and implement expansive climate change policies so that Canadians and their communities will be better prepared when a disaster happens. The effects of storms in communities are staggering and they must be physically and economically prepared for disasters.
According to data from Insurance Bureau of Canada, damages from storms are on an upward trend with no signs of stopping. Data also shows that the economic cost of annual disasters all over the world has increased five times since 1980. The average economic cost in the 1980’s was $25 billion per year but now it has increased to an average of $130 billion per year since 2000.
In Canada, federal relief spending increased by an average of $40 million a year in the 70’s to an average of more than $600 million a year today. Communities stagger from the effect of storms. Examples of costly natural disasters include the ice storm in Southern Ontario, the storms that swept through Ontario and the prairies, the hail storm in Saskatchewan and the flooding in Ontario and Atlantic Canada.
If industries and governments work together, current gaps in public policy and consumer protection will be addressed. It is also important to consider mitigation, adaptation and emergency management which form the basis of a comprehensive climate strategy. A National Flood Program is also critical because Canada is behind other countries when it comes to flood preparation.
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