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Severe weather cause record year for insurable damage in Canada

Staff Writer |
From the wildfires that swept through Fort McMurray in May to the floods that devastated parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland over Thanksgiving weekend, severe weather had a huge impact on Canadians in 2016.

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According to Catastrophe Indices and Quantification (CatIQ), insured damage for 2016 topped $4.9 billion – smashing the previous annual record of $3.2 billion set in 2013.

IBC data shows that the annual economic cost of disasters around the world has increased five-fold since the 1980s.

From an average of $25 billion a year in the 1980s, it increased to an average of $130 billion a year in the 2000s. In Canada, federal disaster relief spending rose from an average of $40 million a year in the 1970s to an average of $100 million a year in the 1990s.

In the first six years of this decade, federal disaster relief spending rose even more to an average of over $600 million a year. In 2013, federal spending hit a record $1.4 billion largely because of the flooding disasters in Ontario and Alberta.

2016's biggest natural disaster, the Fort McMurray wildfires, resulted in approximately $3.7 billion in insured damage – more than twice the amount of the previous costliest natural disaster on record.

However, severe weather and natural disasters are happening across the country and they are happening more often.

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