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Record July storm cost insurers at least $850M

Video: Passengers on flooded GO Train are rescued (July 9)

TORONTO – The unprecedented storm that swept across the Greater Toronto Area in July is now the most expensive in Ontario history, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The fast-moving storm pummeled Toronto with 123 millimetres of rain, breaking the previous record of 121 mm set in October 1954 during Hurricane Hazel. The torrent of rain halted TTC service throughout the city as well as a GO Train in the Don Valley, trapping hundreds of people on board. The Don Valley Parkway was also closed due to flooding.

According to the insurance agency, the storm caused more than $850 million in damages.

But the costs are just preliminary estimates and will likely continue to grow as clean up continues, Ralph Palumbo, a vice-president at IBC said in a press release issued Wednesday.

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“Damage caused by more frequent severe weather is just another situation our members must prepare for,” Palumbo said in the press release.

The three most expensive storms in Toronto history all happened in the last decade. A heavy rain and wind storm on August 19, 2005 caused approximately $671 million in damages, and heavy rain between July 24 and 28, 2009 caused $228 million in damages.

July’s flooding also caused an insurance company to file its own emergency claim.  Intact Insurance, one of Canada’s largest insurers, said the storm, along with flooding in Calgary and the Lac-Megantic train explosion, culminated in the company taking a financial hit of more than a quarter of a billion dollars. The company said roughly $170 million of that was directly related to the flooding in Toronto.

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