Experts say the escalating risk of severe weather events is one of several factors putting pressure on insurance companies and potentially increasing premiums for consumers.

Craig Stewart of the Insurance Bureau of Canada says that in recent years, extreme weather losses, inflation, and reinsurance costs have all helped drive insurance premiums higher.

The IBC says severe weather caused more than $3.1 billion in insured damage in 2023, the fourth-worst year on record.

Stewart says while wildfires accounted for a significant chunk of the losses, flooding also caused a lot of damage across the country, as did severe hail and wind storms.

The IBC says that the Okanagan and Shuswap-area wildfires alone cost $720 million in insured damage.

Meanwhile, severe summer storms in Ontario and spring ice storms in Ontario and Quebec cost a combined $670 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2024.

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The insurance industry is on the verge of pricing itself out of the market, and has already withdrawn service from some disaster prone territories altogether, i.e. California (wildfires) and Florida (hurricanes/flooding) Now if we could just persuade them to refuse to insure the fossil fuel and other extractive sectors, we might be able to right the capsizing climate ship.