Alberta is being called the “natural disaster capital” of the country.
A new study commissioned by the Insurance Bureau of Canada shows that an increase in extreme weather is hitting Alberta insurance companies pretty hard.
“Alberta accounted for 62% of the catastrophic insured losses last year,” says Heather Mack, the government relations director for Alberta. In the last four years, insurers paid out an average of $670 million annually which is significantly higher than the average of $100 million annually from the previous 25 years. While this puts pressure on insurance companies to hike premiums, Doug Lyall of Western Financial says there are factors at play to help protect consumers.
“Over the past few years companies have really gone to a predictive modelling which is really breaking the province down into zones of risk for hail, wind, water, and those types of risks so that they’re charging the right premium in the right area for the right type of risk.” The Bureau says another way to avoid raising insurance rates is for Alberta to focus its efforts on improving old infrastructure in order to prepare for the new climate reality. The study predicts there will be a 10% increase in severe weather events over the next few decades. It attributes that to global warming which will result in more droughts and wildfires in Alberta.
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