Severe hailstorms drive up claims

Every cloud has a silver lining, as the saying goes, but for the prairie growing season of 2018, the silver lining came without many clouds — hail clouds in particular.

The Canadian Crop Hail Association released its hail summary Nov. 1, noting lack of moisture in many areas this summer resulted in fewer storms than average.

However, severity in terms of crop damage was high in the few storms that did gather.

Of particular note for the CCHA was a June 14 storm that hit all three prairie provinces from Picture Butte, Alta., to Morden, Man.

“Some insurers reported this to be one of the costliest June storms on record,” the CCHA said in its report.

Overall, 2018 was an average year for claims but there were higher than average claim payments. Payouts of more than $161 million were made on more than 11,200 claims in Western Canada.

Because 2017 was a record low hail year, there was an eight percent decrease in producer paid premiums this year.

Alberta had lower than average hail damage, the CCHA said, but damaging events started early, on June 9. Two other events, on June 14 and June 25, produced more than 100 claims with an average of more than $12,000 per claim.

Three storms in July (13, 19 and 20) made up 31 percent of the year’s claims.

As a result, total Alberta payments were slightly more than $25 million, on par with 2017, the CCHA said.

In Saskatchewan, June 14 saw the first hailstorm, which was severe. However, the most expensive events were July 7, 9 and 10, which resulted in more than $34 million in losses on more than 1,750 claims.

Total hail payments in the province were more than $98 million for the year, compared to $47 million in 2017.

Manitoba’s hail season began on June 14 as well and proved one of the most expensive on record, said the CCHA. It resulted in more than 675 claims. Some companies reported average claims of more than $20,000.

July was quiet, but on Aug. 3 hail led to more than 800 claims in an area north of Duck Mountain to Swan River and from the west border to the Interlake.

More hailstorms were reported in Manitoba on Aug. 26, Sept. 3 and Sept. 16 when much of the crop was still in the field.

The CCHA said total hail payments in the province were more than $37 million, compared to $22 million in 2017.

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