Saturday, April 26, 2008

Climate change blamed as Canadian insurance payouts increase

The Gazette (Canada): Insurance claims relating to water damage are the fastest-growing category of all claims in Canada. But those payouts involve water damage caused mainly by flash storms in summer that result in sewer backups and basement flooding.

Quebec insurers paid out more than $500 million in water-related claims in 2005-06, said Jack Chadirdjian, director of public affairs for the Quebec branch of the Insurance Bureau of Canada. That amount represents 45 per cent of $1.1 billion in payouts overall, he noted. The 45-per-cent figure is significant because water-related payouts represented only 21 per cent of the total as recently as 2001-02, he said.

It's because of climate change, Chadirdjian said. "Not just more rain," he said, "but more rain compressed into shorter periods of time" - like the 100 millimetres (about four inches) of rain that fell in one hour in Montreal in July 1987….

The flood at Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge in 2006, Qu├ębec, Canada, by “Antaya,” Wikimedia Commons, under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation license, Version 1.2

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