PCS puts losses from Ontario, Quebec, U.S. storm system at $230m+


Insurance and reinsurance industry losses from a storm system that struck the Ontario and Quebec regions of Canada and also affected four states across the border in the U.S. in February look set to rise to at least US $230 million once the full damage is tallied, according to Property Claim Services (PCS).

The catastrophe loss data aggregator said that the storms caused insured loss impacts on both sides of the Canadian and United States border, after high pressure brought heavy rain to the region.

“Severe flooding across many areas was the proximate peril with some areas receiving 15-20mm of rain in one day. Numerous areas had evacuation orders issued due to flooding,” Ted Gregory, co-head of PCS for operations, explained.

The storms struck the Canada region in late February with torrential rains and despite the fact the high pressure brought warmer air with it, the weather was still sufficiently cold for around 5 – 10 mm of freezing rain to fall across parts of central and southern Quebec resulting in downed trees and numerous power outages, exacerbating the impact to re/insurers from this storm event.

Additionally, evacuations were reported in Ontario as a result of water treatment plants that became overwhelmed by the amount of rain water that had fallen.

The latest insurance and reinsurance industry loss figure for the Canadian side of the border was reported by PCS Canada as being C$89 million.

Tom Johansmeyer, co-head of PCS for strategy, commented, “The PCS Canada team has continued to invest in the effectiveness of our operation, which has led to some key advantages for both our local clients and the global reinsurance industry, which relies on the service for a wide range of risk and capital management activities.”

This storm system has also caused even more in the way of insured losses on the U.S. side of the border, as a separate PCS catastrophe event identifier has been created for an event that has resulted in more than $160 million of losses across four states, according to PCS.

So combined, the one frontal storm system, resulted in over US$230 million of insurance sector losses, which matters to some reinsurers for their aggregate retrocession contracts, including some cat bonds, may aggregate the two storm losses into a single event raising the likelihood that the total exceeds any deductibles or retained portions set.

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