Many farmers got a break from hailstorms this year

Hail caused less damage across the Prairies in 2017 than it did in 2016, according to the final report tabled Dec. 4 by the Canadian Crop Hail Association.

Western Canadian farmers with hail insurance were paid $96 million on about 8,600 claims, making 2017 one of the lightest claim years since 2009, the CCHA said. Producer premiums totalled about $286 million, five percent less than in 2016, resulting in an insurance industry loss ratio of 33.8 percent.

Dry conditions across much of Saskatchewan and Alberta reduced storm activity. Precipitation was better in Manitoba, so that province had the most hail among the three prairie provinces, CCHA said. However, even in Manitoba the loss ratio of 45.9 percent was markedly better than 2016, when the ratio was 158.9.

Alberta posted a loss ratio of 33.7 percent (83.6 in 2016) and Saskatchewan had a 30 percent loss ratio (73 in 2016).

“All months of June through October reported hail,” the CCHA said in a news release. “However, all months showed a decrease in storm frequency from the five-year average. Claim frequency or claim-to-policy ratio was down about 30 percent from the five-year average. Storm severity or average per claim was down about 16 percent from the five-year average.”

In Alberta, claim payments declined 60 percent from 2016 levels. Storms on July 23 and July 27 caused considerable damage on more than 33,000 acres.

Total hail payments in Alberta for 2017 were just over $25 million. The CCHA said storm frequency was 40 percent of the five-year average and fewer acres were insured compared to 2016.

In Saskatchewan, early June storms started the hail season, though hailstorm frequency was down from the five-year average.

The province’s most expensive storm occurred July 20-21, resulting in $14.9 million in payouts on more than 1,100 claims, said CCHA.

Total hail payments for the year in Saskatchewan were $48 million, which was $77 million less than in 2016.

In Manitoba, a storm July 21-22 was the worst of the season. Overall, however, hail frequency and severity were reduced compared to 2016, which was a record hail year in the province.

Total hail payments in Manitoba were just over $23 million compared to more than $74 million last year, said CCHA.

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