Extreme weather takes a toll on Canada’s insurance industry
One of Canada’s major banks has come out with an early warning of increased uncertainty in the insurance industry, as the country continues to grapple with extreme weather events.
Weeks after Alberta was hit with historic flooding and parts Ontario with record-breaking rainfall, TD Bank announced that from May to July, its insurance arm was expected to lose almost $290 million.
If the disasters had not happened, TD’s insurance branch would have made a profit of $180 million. So the wicked weather cost it about $470 million.
The figures are in stark contrast to 2012, when it made $400 million from May to July.
“We expect good premium growth in insurance, even with slowing creditor insurance but businesses face increased uncertainty,” Edmund Clark, TD Bank CEO said in a recent speech.
Other insurance companies said they are experiencing similar losses.
Intact Financial, the country’s largest property insurer, announced its profits are down 32 per cent because of storm damage claims.
Extreme weather events in recent years are taking a toll on the industry.
“Insurers are a bit like the canary in the coal mine, and we’ve talked a lot about adaptation strategies,” Insurance Bureau of Canada spokesperson Stephen Kee told CTV News.
But consumers like Tom Carter are left to wonder if that strategy includes methods to ease the pain for consumers.
The resident of High River, Alta., said insurance industry woes are a “bit of a blow” for those who need to file claims to rebuild their lives.
He personally struggled on the insurance front to get his home back in order after widespread floods in southern Alberta ravaged his hometown.
Consumer rights advocates are also fearful that more claims could lead to higher monthly premiums.
“I don’t know another business where you can have a loss in one year and add it on to the next year’s prices, it doesn’t work that way except in insurance industry,” said Bruce Cran, of the Consumers Association of Canada.
Claims for both the flooding in Alberta and Ontario could take several more months to add up so early losses for insurers could only be the start of what’s to come.
With a report from CTV’s Scott Laurie