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Insurance Bureau of Canada reveals May 21 storm is sixth most expensive natural disaster in country's history

The storm caused over $875 million in insured damage according to initial estimates.
2022-05-22 hyro ottawa 1
Aftermath of the Ottawa storm that happened on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Photo/Hydro Ottawa)

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), the powerful storm that ripple through parts of Ontario and Québec on May 21 ranks as the sixth largest insured loss event in Canadian history. 

The storm caused over $875 million in insured damage according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Incorporated. Damage in Ontario is estimated to be over $720 million and $155 million in Québec. 

"As we begin to contemplate the enormity of the financial losses, we must pause for a moment in the face of the loss of life," said Kim Donaldson, Ontario vice-president with IBC. "This was largely an insurable event and insurers have been on the ground since day one, working hard to help their customers throughout the entire claims process. And, insurers will be there until all claims from their policyholders have been processed. Those with general insurance questions are encouraged to contact IBC's Consumer Information Centre at 1-844-2ask-IBC." 

Close to 30,000 homes in Ontario and Québec were without power for more than a week after the storm. Most of the damage was caused by winds of 190 km/h. 

Cleanup efforts continue across Ottawa, and Hydro Ottawa revealed costs associated to power loss are estimated between $25 million and $30 million. The provincial government is covering storm costs from the City of Ottawa. 

According to IBC, the top 10 natural disasters for insurance payouts are: 

  • 1.  Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016 - $4 billion
  • 2. Eastern ice storm in 1998 - $2.3 billion
  • 3. Southern Alberta floods in 2013 - $1.8 billion
  • 4. Alberta hailstorm in 2020 - $1.2 billion
  • 5. Toronto flood in 2013 - $1 billion
  • 6. Ontario and Quebec derecho in 2022 - $875 million
  • 7. Toronto flood in 2005 - $780 million
  • 8. Ontario windstorm in 2018 - $695 million
  • 9. British Columbia flood in 2021 - $675 million
  • 10. Slave Lake fire in 2011 - $600 million

Damage caused by wind is typically covered by home, commercial property and comprehensive auto insurance policies. More information can be found at


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