Insurance premiums on the rise due to severe weather

A power line is wrapped around a fallen tree branch on Dawes Road in Scarborough,
File - A power line is wrapped around a fallen tree branch on Dawes Road in Scarborough, Monday, December 23, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Galit Rodan

WINNIPEG – From the summertime flood in Calgary, to the ice storm in Toronto, weather is changing and Winnipeggers insurance premiums are taking the hit.

Once-in-a-lifetime weather events are now becoming more frequent.

In 2013, that added up to $3 billion in payouts from Canada’s insurance industry.

“2013 will mark the fifth year that insurers have paid out at or above a billion dollars just in claims or expenses from storms,” said Peter Karageorgos from the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

Because of the record year, the IBC warns premiums could be on the rise in 2014.

One insurance company in Alberta has increased premiums by 20 per cent. Manitoba isn’t immune from that severe weather impact.

“What we’re starting to see now is the losses of the few is growing,” explained Peter Tessier of Waggoner Insurance. “It’s the losses of the many so the premiums of the many have to go up as well.”

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It’s becoming another factor to consider when purchasing a new home explained local Realtor Jordan Prest. He has been talking to his clients about the increase on insurance rates. He said it’s not going to deter them from buying a new home but it could be a factor for others.

“It’s not just the purchase price, there’s a lot more that comes to it,” Prest said. “There’s the down payment, the deposit, those things and closing costs and now insurance so you want to make sure you factor everything in before taking the next step.”

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