Extreme weather cost Canadians $1.9 billion in 2018
Tuesday, January 22, 2019, 2:25 PM - The cost of damages to homes, businesses and vehicles from the Dec. 20 windstorm that shook the South Coast of B.C. totaled more than $37 million, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The storm knocked down large trees and power poles, leaving over 750,000 customers without power, some of them through Christmas. Over 3,000 homes were damaged, boats were scattered and the pier in White Rock was cut in half.
MAJOR DAMAGES ACROSS CANADA
Aaron Sutherland, with the Insurance Bureau of Canada, says that storm is part of the nearly $1.9 billion of damages caused by extreme weather across Canada in 2018.
Sutherland says it's part of a trend of rising costs due to extreme weather. For example, before 2009, the annual costs to insurers for damages from extreme weather in Canada was only $300 to $400 million.
"It's evidence to us that the financial impact of our changing climate is rising and should be a wake-up call to all of us that we need to do much more to improve our resiliency to these kinds of events," Sutherland said.
An uprooted tree leans on a home in Maple Ridge on Thursday. Credit: Shane Mackichan
The bureau says it's working with all levels of government to advocate for increased investment to mitigate the effects of extreme weather.
Those changes could include investments in infrastructure to protect communities from floods and fires, improvement to building codes and a shift to developing homes and businesses away from areas of highest risk.
Sutherland says individuals can also take action. He says they should do more to prepare their homes for extreme weather by clearing debris from storm drains and gutters to mitigate damages.