By Jessy Bains | Yahoo Finance Canada
Ontario’s cold, hot, and cold again weather caused over $70 million in insurance damage, says the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).
February’s deep freeze was followed by warm weather, which led to snowmelt, ice jams, and flooding. Heavy rain and snow in some areas in early March brought more of the same.
Feb. 4 was a record-breaking day, as the temperature jumped to as high as 15 C in parts of the province. Northern Ontario was blanketed by up to 40 centimetres of snow. There was freezing rain and drizzle from Sault. Ste Marie to Ottawa. Meanwhile, southern Ontario was soaked with rain.
“There were widespread reports of water-related damage from this event including basement leakage, sewer backups, and burst pipes,” IBC said.
“A burst water main in downtown Toronto created two sinkholes. Roads flooded in Ottawa and Cornwall due to clogged catch basins.”
IBC says the damage from this weather event alone was over $33 million.
March 9 brought strong winds, warm temperatures, followed by rain and even freezing rain in some areas.
“Throughout portions of southern Ontario there were reports of flooding and water-related damage due to heavy rain and snowmelt,” IBC said.
“Much of the damage was in Toronto and surrounding areas, caused by the melting of an unusually large snowpack. Damage included roof and basement leaks.”
The damage was close to $37 million.
IBC is calling on all levels of government to spend more on mitigating the impact of extreme weather events. It wants to see improved building codes, better land-use planning, incentives to shift the development of homes and businesses away from areas at high risk of flooding, and upgraded infrastructure to protect communities from floods.
For every dollar insurers pay out for claims, IBC estimates government pays $3 to repair the damaged public infrastructure.
Homeowners can also be proactive when it comes to these types of situations.
“It is important that property owners take precautions and protect their properties to minimize potential damage,” said Kim Donaldson, Vice-President, Ontario of IBC, in a news release.
“They should also understand their insurance policies and know whether they have overland flood coverage.”