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Insurance claims skyrocket and tensions remain high after slew of natural disasters


Peter Dominey still cannot fully comprehend the magnitude of the damage to his own property and his neighbourhood during the wildfires of May and June in 2023.

In the Tantallon area in suburban Halifax, 16,000 evacuated their community, while fire destroyed 200 buildings and 151 homes.

"I lost some buildings, some sheds and some cars burned," said Dominey who estimated the final insurance claim was close to $200,000. "The house, the siding, the windows, the deck, the roof was all damaged."

Dominey said the entire experience was terrifying, with fire and a rain of sparks all around him as he fled his home and was evacuated for two months.

Almost a year later, he still lives in fear of another fire.

"My brother had a campfire and he posted the picture on Facebook," said Dominey. "I can’t tell you the feeling I came over me. It was sickening."

According to new data released by Statistics Canada, the cost of catastrophic insurance claims in Canada between 1983 and 2008 was $400 million each year.

That number jumped to $2 billion each year between 2009 and 2023.

In the last two years, extreme weather in Canada has pushed up claims to $3.4 billion in 2022 and 3.1 billion in 2023.

The federal agency added it is having a direct impact on home insurance premiums.

People living in Nova Scotia also endured flooding and hurricane damage.

"We call it the year of the three F’s," said Insurance Bureau of Canada vice president Amanda Dean. "We were coming out of Fiona, and were still dealing with claims from Hurricane Fiona in September 2022, and then there were fires and then floods."

Dominey also dealt with property flooding last summer after the wildfires. Insurance covered much of the damage and the clean-up has been non-stop.

"The biggest thing over the past year is I have had no life," said Dominey, who saw his insurance premium climb to $800. "Everyday you are talking to someone about trying to rebuild, reorganize and always communicating with insurance companies."

Dominey added, what happened to him, to his property, his neighbourhood and his home province, deepened his empathy for those who experienced damage from flooding and wildfires as well as other natural disasters. Top Stories

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