Airdrie hail damage could cost up to $100M, says insurance expert

Damage costs from the hail that pelted Airdrie in southern Alberta recently could reach as high as $100 million, says one insurance expert.

Insurance companies struggling to deal with claims from hail storms north of Calgary

Pop-up assessment stations have been set up across southern Alberta after recent hail storms. (CBC)

Damage costs from the hail that pelted Airdrie in southern Alberta last week could reach as high as $100 million, says one insurance expert.

The area has been hit by more than one hail storm recently, but last Thursday`s extreme weather was a significant problem for many home and vehicle owners.

Hail in Airdrie, north of Calgary, has caused lots of dents in cars and cracks in siding. (Submitted by Patrick Jessup)

Damage from that storm is now pegged at roughly $25 million, but it could be four times that.

“Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) fully appreciates the significant toll these types of severe weather events can have on families and communities," said IBC spokesperson Celyeste Power.

"While it is too early to provide an estimate of the damage caused by the Airdrie hail storm, we understand that Property Claim Services (PCS) is surveying insured damages and will provide a preliminary estimate soon.”

Darren Godfrey with Intact Insurance says there is also still four to six weeks of hail season left.

"The challenge we have with hail is we know we're going to get it, we just don't know where and when and how big it's going to be," he said.

Severity of storms increasing?

Pop-up assessment stations have been set up across Airdrie by many insurance agencies, and are often located near repair shops. Other temporary appraisal centres have been set up across southern Alberta.

"We're in a big of a hail alley here — just slightly sort of north of Red Deer, all the way down to High River, and a little bit across Highway 2," said Godfrey. 

Martina Baum has made more than four claims between vehicles and houses in recent years.

She has lived in the area for three decades, but says the storms have been getting worse in the last 10 years.

"You walk in, you do shopping, you come out and it's damaged," she said. 

Godfrey agrees the frequency and severity of storms in Alberta is increasing.

"Unfortunately in Alberta, in particular, we get the vast majority of storms that we see across coast-to-coast in Canada," he said.

Golf ball-sized hail in Airdrie has caused damage to some vehicles and properties in the area. (Submitted by Sarah Buist)

With files from CBC's Meghan Grant


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