Milder 2017 Prairie summer leads to one of the lightest hail-claim seasons in 8 years

Heavy pea sized hail caused sewer drains to become clogged as a storm passed through Lloydminster on June 9, 2017. Courtesy of Jason Whiting

A reduction in potentially damaging storm activity on much of the Prairies last summer led to one of the lightest hail-claim seasons in eight years, a new report from the Canadian Crop Hail Association said.

The 2017 report from the Regina-based association shows there were just over 8,600 claims in Western Canada, that generated $96 million in insurance payouts.

READ MORE: How Alberta manages severe summer weather

The report said there was a decrease in storm frequency from the five-year average, while hail damage claim frequency was down about 30 per cent for the same period of time.

Manitoba farmers suffered the most losses, followed by Alberta and Saskatchewan.

READ MORE: Crop hail payouts down in Saskatchewan for 2017

The association says the lack of moisture was widespread this year with record to near-record dry conditions throughout much of Saskatchewan and parts of Alberta.

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WATCH: Some turbulent weather was seen across central Alberta this past summer, with some people seeing funnel clouds and hail. This July 2017 video shows large hail coming down in the Drayton Valley area.

Click to play video: 'Large hail comes down in Drayton Valley, Alta. area'
Large hail comes down in Drayton Valley, Alta. area

The organization also said farmers continue to insure their crops for hail damage at near record levels.

The report said there was more timely precipitation in Manitoba where producers enjoyed good yield and quality, despite dry conditions. The province’s loss ratio of 45.9 per cent was well below 2016’s record loss ratio of 158.9 per cent.

READ MORE: Damage in the millions from June hail storm in Saskatoon

Alberta followed at 33.7 per cent, compared to 83.6 per cent in 2016. Saskatchewan reported a 30-per-cent loss ratio compared to 73 per cent in 2016.

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The report said producer premiums totalled just over $286 million for an industry loss ratio of 33.8 per cent.

A dry spring, combined with 2016 unharvested acres and some continued industry rate declines, resulted in a five-per-cent decrease in producer-paid premiums this year.

READ MORE: Alberta declares farm weather disaster in 2014; up to $589M in crop hail insurance payouts

The Canadian Crop Hail Association is a member-driven organization that represents the interests of the Canadian crop hail managing general agencies and insurance companies. It’s been serving the crop insurance industry since 1915.

Association member companies write crop-hail insurance products totalling more than $250 million in premiums, and liability totalling about $6 billion.

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