September tornadoes caused $295M of insured damage in Ottawa-Gatineau: industry

Thunderstorms and high winds caused significant damage to the Merivale hydro substation on last month. (Photo via Hydro One)

The tornadoes that wreaked havoc across the National Capital Region last month – downing power lines and tearing the roofs off homes and businesses – caused $295 million of insured damages in Ottawa-Gatineau, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Homes, businesses and vehicles in Ottawa were hit for $192 million of insured damage when six tornadoes descended on the capital on Sept. 21, while the Gatineau side of the river saw $102 million in insurance payouts.

Among those making claims was Meat Press owner Etienne Cuerrier, who told OBJ he had his Ottawa delicatessen products well-insured before losing up to 120 kilograms of meat to the power outages.

The IBC says insurance companies sent additional resources to Ottawa-Gatineau in the tornadoes’ wake to handle the high volume of claims. The industry association noted in a release that Canada has seen $1.7 billion in insured damages so far this year, and stressed the importance of understanding the extent of insurance coverage for homes and businesses when it comes to dangerous weather.

The nearly $300-million figure compares with $223 million in insured damages from a pair of floods that hit the Ottawa-Gatineau region after heavy rainfall in the spring of 2017. Hydro Ottawa CEO Bruce Conrad compared the tornadoes’ impact to that of the 1998 ice storm in the capital.