Fort McMurray insured loss a record $3.58bn

Insured losses from the May wildfire that hit Fort McMurray total $3.58m, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said.
That is the biggest loss total due to natural catastrophe in Canadian history — more than double the $1.7bn in insurance claims from the 2013 flooding in southern Alberta, Bill Adams, IBC’s Western and Pacific vp, said during a conference call with news media July 7.
The damage total was compiled by Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ).
“The aggregated industry loss announced today breaks down into approximately 62% personal property, 33% commercial property and 5% auto losses,” Cat IQ managing director Carolyn Rennie said.
She said there were over 27,000 personal claims averaging $81,000 each, 5,000 commercial claims averaging close to $250,000 each and 12,000 auto claims averaging $15,000 each.
Ms. Rennie noted that total economic losses from the 2013 floods were about $6bn. CatIQ has no total economic loss figure for the Fort McMurray fire, but Ms. Rennie said a much higher portion of the latter event was insured.
Asked whether the record losses would lead to premium increases, Mr. Adams said that would vary by location and insurer.
“No single event, even one of this magnitude . . . will trigger premium increases,” he said. “Historically, obviously, when we see long-term increases in claims costs, you inevitably see premium increases that lag behind those. Conversely, when we see long-term decreases in claims trends, then premiums will eventually go down.
“This wildfire is, yes, the largest (catastrophic loss) but unfortunately it’s one in a series of significant events that have taken place in Alberta over the course of the last number of years.
“So I think most Albertans who have had renewals would have not seen their premiums increase. What impact this will have will be determined at a later date by individual insurers.”
Mr. Adams said there would be an announcement as early as next week on a co-ordinated debris removal program for owners of the roughly 1,800 homes lost in the fire.
Responding to a question from Thompson’s, IBC government relations director Heather Mack said it was unlikely that the losses would affect reinsurance contracts, even for Alberta-based insurers.