Alberta is seeing an increase in the number of hailstorms it is experiencing this year – a troubling trend that has insurance experts worried.
More than 40 major hail storms have come through the province each summer, and over the last decade, these storms have caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage.
“In the last decade, the number has been about $1 billion that the insurance industry has paid in severe weather damages across the country,” Insurance Bureau of Canada director of consumer and industry relations Rob de Pruis told Global News in an interview.
Pruis added that in 2018 alone, the insurance industry paid in excess of $1.9 billion for severe weather damage claims.
The statements of Pruis come as a report published by AMA Insurance earlier this month found that 51% of all storm-related damage in Canada since 2010 has occurred in Alberta. That report found that since 2010, Alberta has incurred approximately $5 billion of insured damage involving storms.
AMA’s report also discovered that 66% of Canada’s major hailstorms occur in Alberta. The most severe hail event recorded in the province happened in August 2010, which led to nearly $400 million in damages.
The numbers have pushed the province to address the hail problem by sending in a hail suppression team, which works under the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society. The team works by dispersing silver iodide in the form of smoke over the clouds via plane. It is believed the substance creates ice crystals that can reduce the size of the hail.
For the team’s first three weeks (out of the 15 weeks the province’s hail season runs), it has already seen eight grape-sized, seven walnut-sized, and two golf-ball sized hailstorms.
“We’re off to a busy start and I’ll say we are slightly above average for the number of storm days so far this year,” commented Terry Krauss of the Alberta Severe Weather Management Society.