Home Emergency Management News Fort McMurray Wildfire: Costliest Natural Disaster in Canadian History

Fort McMurray Wildfire: Costliest Natural Disaster in Canadian History

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Insured losses top $3.5 billion

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) released a report that places the May 2016 Fort McMurray wildfire as the costliest insured natural disaster in Canadian history.

According to the IBC, the wildfire in northern Alberta resulted in estimated insured property damage that exceeds $3.58 billion. That estimate is more than double the $1.7 billion in insurance claim that resulted from the 2013 southern Alberta flood, which previously held the record as costliest natural disaster on record in Canada.

The wildfire began on May 1, 2016 southwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta and spread to nearly 1,500,000 acres before officials declared it under control just last week -- July 5, 2016.

"This wildfire, and the damage it caused, is more alarming evidence that extreme weather events have increased in both frequency and severity in Canada." -- Don Forgeron, President and CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Breakdown of damages from the Fort McMurray fire

The $3.58 billion mark noted by the IBC refers to estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ). Along with the total dollar amount of insured damages, CatIQ also provided breakdown estimates.

Breakdown of damage estimates:

  • More than 27,000 personal property claims
  • An average personal property claim of more than $81,000
  • More than 12,000 auto insurance claims
  • An average auto insurance claim of more than $15,000
  • More than 5,000 commercial insurance claims
  • An average commercial insurance claim of more than $227,000

"As a country, we need to take a more disciplined and sustained approach to helping prepare Canadians for fires and floods. We must build a more resilient country to better protect those affected by the very real impacts of our changing climate." -- Don Forgeron, President and CEO, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.