August hail storm cost Alberta insurers $450M, insurance bureau reports

A powerful storm that brought heavy rain, wind and hail to southern Alberta racked up $450 million in insurance payouts.

Payments from natural catastrophes reach $4B in the province since 2011

Golf ball-sized hail destroyed the windshield of this car in Airdrie. (CBC)

A major storm that brought heavy rain, wind and hail to southern Alberta in early August cost insurers an estimated $450 million, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The storm brings insurance payments from natural catastrophes to $4 billion in Alberta since 2011, according to Property Claims Services — a branch of the bureau which reports on damage once it reaches a threshold of $25 million, which is deemed a natural catastrophe by the insurance industry.

“While the frequency and severity of weather events have been rising across the country, Alberta has been hardest hit,” IBC spokesman Bill Adams said in a news release.

"What’s more is that we are not out of the woods yet. Alberta hail season traditionally runs through the end of September.”

The intense storm on Aug. 7 hammered Airdrie and surrounding areas, including Rocky Mountain House and Red Deer, with torrential rains and both golf ball- and tennis ball-sized hail.

"This storm damaged tens of thousands of cars and homes," Adams said. "As such, some insurers brought in claims staff from other provinces and the United States to help those affected and to process claims.”

“Claims adjusters, body shops and contractors continue to assess and repair damages. Anyone who was affected is encouraged to contact their insurance representative as soon as possible to begin the claims process.”

The bureau provided a list of natural catastrophes in Alberta and their estimated damage since 2011:

  • August 2014 – A severe wind, rain and hail storm resulted in $450 million in insured damage in Airdrie and surrounding communities.
  • June 2013 – Severe weather events including the flooding in southern Alberta caused more than $1.7 billion in insured damage.
  • August 2012 – A thunderstorm accompanied by heavy winds that struck the Calgary region and surrounding areas resulted in insured damage of more than $535 million.
  • July 2012 – A thunderstorm in Edmonton resulted in insured damage of over $100 million.
  • July 2012 –Severe wind and thunderstorm from Cardston to Nanton caused more than $71 million in insured damage.
  • November 2011 – Wind and thunderstorm in Alberta caused more than $230 million in insured damage.
  • July 2011 – Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan wind and thunderstorms cost over $190 million in insured damage.
  • May 2011 – Serious fire in Slave Lake had an estimated insured damage of more than $717 million.