Extreme weather phenomenon: should we fear an increase in home insurance premiums?

Extreme weather phenomenon: should we fear an increase in home insurance premiums?

It’s been happening for several decades. Not only do we have more [d’événements de précipitations extrêmes], but each time it happens, there is more rain as well. It’s a double factor that makes it really bad when you have itexplains the professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at the University of Quebec in Outaouais (UQO), Audrey Maheu.

As for tornadoes and derechos – which the region suffered on May 21 – it is difficult to predict whether such phenomena will be more frequent in the future. The data turns out to be less accurate for these high wind events.

Between 1950 and 1970, there were no social networks, radars, tornado hunters. There are more people, today, with cameras, who will capture these phenomena [NDLR : ce qui contribue à donner l’impression qu’il y en a davantage]. So are there more than in the past? Basically, we don’t knowexplains Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell.

The Northern Tornado Project was also created in 2017 to specifically identify and document this type of storm in the country. Last year, 60 of the 99 tornadoes that hit Canada took place in Ontario, mostly in the southern part of the province.

In Canada, we had always said that we observe 70 to 80 tornadoes a year, compared to the United States, which reports 1000. But we discover that there are many more than we thought. »

A quote from Peter Kimbell, meteorologist at Environment Canada

Peter Kimbell, meteorologist at Environment Canada

Photo: Radio-Canada / Jacques Corriveau

A potential impact on insurance premiums

An increase in the number of extreme precipitation events – and, therefore, flooding – and other severe weather events could lead to higher home insurance premiums.

For property and casualty insurance companies, the annual cost of claims related to natural disasters in the country has amounted, for the past 10 years, to more than a billion dollars. However, over the past five years, the average has climbed to $2.2 billion, according to figures from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Before the 2000s, apart from the ice storm [de 1998], which we remember well, we were talking more about a few hundred million dollars each year. So, it’s a trend that we see on the rise and which continues to increaseunderlines the director of communications and public affairs of the BACPierre Babinski.

If all insurers pay several billion dollars a year in claims due to natural disasters, they must adjust their premiums to be sure to collect enough [d’argent] within the year to pay the claims they think they will have to pay for the next 12 months. »

A quote from Pierre Babinsky, director of communications and public affairs at BAC
Pierre Babinski.

Pierre Babinsky, Director of Communications at the Insurance Bureau of Canada

Photo: Radio-Canada

However, several other factors play a role in the cost of insurance premiums, such as inflation, the cost of labor and building materials, and the value of a home.

Make communities more resilient

We must adapt now to this new reality and make our communities more resilient: get these residences out of flooded areas, put in place flood risk mitigation measures, update our municipal infrastructurelists Mr. Babinsky.

There is a lot of work to be done so that our sewage infrastructure [et] rain collection systems are able to absorb these new quantities of water that we see pouring into our regions, year after year. »

A quote from Pierre Babinsky, director of communications and public affairs at BAC
Road and banks of a submerged river due to flooding.

The Gatineau River overflowed in the spring of 2017.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick

the BAC working with the federal government on setting up a program temporary which would allow residences, even located in flood-prone areas, to have access to insurance protection, pending that we are able to make our communities resilient.

For now, some insurers refuse to cover homeowners living in areas at risk of flooding. If you are on the edge of a river that floods every year, the insurer will not provide protection for a “sudden and unexpected” risk when you know with certainty that it is recurring every year.adds Pierre Babinsky.

The damage insurance industry adapts to all the changes we are going throughhe argues.

Reduce the effects of climate change

To fight the evil at the root, one of the solutions lies in slowing down global warming, believes for her part the professor in the Department of Natural Sciences of theUQOAudrey Maheu.

For each degree of global temperature increase, heavy precipitation events are expected to increase by 7%. »

A quote from Audrey Maheu, professor in the Department of Natural Sciences at UQO

The sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), published last April, details, among other things, the actions to be taken to limit the rise in global temperature to 1.5°C by here 2050.

Among the solutions put forward, a radical reduction in the consumption and production of fossil fuels would be essential, among other things, to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

If we are able to limit our global warming, we also limit the propensity to these extreme events. The future is not so dark. It’s in our handsconcludes Ms. Maheu.

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