Damage estimate for Barrie tornadoes jumps to $100M, Insurance Bureau says

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A set of EF-2 strength twisters hit Barrie and communities in Innisfil, Kawartha Lakes, Little Britain, Manilla, Lindsay and Lake of Bays on July 15. (Brandon Vieira/Twitter - image credit)
A set of EF-2 strength twisters hit Barrie and communities in Innisfil, Kawartha Lakes, Little Britain, Manilla, Lindsay and Lake of Bays on July 15. (Brandon Vieira/Twitter - image credit)

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says new estimates indicate the tornadoes that hit Barrie, Ont. and surrounding communities in July caused $100 million in insurable damage — up $25 million from previous estimates.

A set of EF-2 strength twisters hit Barrie and communities in Innisfil, Kawartha Lakes, Little Britain, Manilla, Lindsay and Lake of Bays on July 15.

Environment Canada has said that the damage path of the tornado that hit Barrie was about five kilometres long and up to 100 metres wide, with maximum wind speeds of 210 kilometres per hour.

The tornadoes left 71 homes uninhabitable and resulted in more than 2,200 insurance claims for damage to personal and commercial property, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said.

Michael Charles Cole/CBC
Michael Charles Cole/CBC

No one was killed after the tornadoes hit but 10 people were taken to hospital in Barrie. The city said more than 100 residents were displaced.

In August, the Insurance Bureau of Canada said initial estimates indicated the tornadoes caused $75 million in insurable damage. However, the insurance body increased that estimate on Thursday, based on surveys from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc.

Grant Linton/CBC
Grant Linton/CBC

The insurance bureau's Ontario vice-president, Kim Donaldson, said in a statement that there had been "some delays due to supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic" in sorting claims and asked policyholders for "patience."

"Insurers have been in the community since day one, working hard to help their clients throughout the entire claims process, and will continue to work with policyholders," Donaldson said.

The bureau said all levels of government need to do more to prioritize investments that better protect communities from a changing climate, by changing national and provincial building codes.

Residents affected by the tornadoes or those who have questions about their home, auto or business insurance should contact their insurance representative or the Insurance Bureau of Canada's information centre, Donaldson said.

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