Insurance pitch

Record years for hail insurance claims in 2007 and 2008 do not necessarily signal a trend, says the provincial adjusting manager with Agriculture Financial Services Corp.

Gilbert Goudreau

Gilbert Goudreau

Record years for hail insurance claims in 2007 and 2008 do not necessarily signal a trend, says the provincial adjusting manager with Agriculture Financial Services Corp.

Gilbert Goudreau, who works out of AFSC’s head office in Lacombe, said Alberta farmers have suffered severe hail losses during many years in the past.

And so far this year, he added, there have been relatively few incidents of ice falling from the sky.

“At this time last year, we had quite a number of hail claims.

“We started getting hailstorms and we were getting them day after day in May and June.”

Last year ended with $73.5 million in straight-hail payouts to Alberta producers, smashing the previous record of $40.3 million set the preceding year.

A factor that inflated the 2007 and 2008 numbers was a jump in crop values, confirmed Goudreau.

“The other thing in 2008 was that we had a lot of specialty crops down south that got hail.”

Still, Environment Canada reported a record 89 severe hailstorms in 2007. The figure dropped to 66 last year, but many of those were very intense and far-reaching, said Goudreau.

“We had more offices reporting,” he said, explaining that single hailstorms were generating claims in multiple jurisdictions.

The Calgary-Edmonton corridor was among the hardest-hit areas in 2008, which is not uncommon for the region.

“At Gull Lake, we had areas where we had three storms,” said Goudreau, adding that a similar situation occurred at Olds.

Ironically, the dry conditions stressing Central Alberta crops this spring have translated into a reduced risk of hail. But that could change quickly with precipitation that increases ground-level moisture that in turn fuels hailstorms.

Goudreau pointed out that large bodies of water, such as Sylvan, Gull and Pigeon lakes, also promote hail. Storms often split when they hit a lake, he added, citing Gull Lake as an example.

“Usually you get one arm that heads toward Red Deer, Innisfail and that area, and the other one will catch usually Ponoka and head that way.”

It’s too early to assess the demand for hail insurance this year, said Goudreau, but the high cost of farm inputs like fertilizer and the frequency of storms during the last two years could spur producers to insure.

Conversely, some might be deterred by the prospects of a poor crop in 2009, he acknowledged. However, as long as an insured farmers has a harvestable crop, he or she would be eligible for compensation for hail damage.

“Hail insurance is spot loss.”

Damage from hail on Monday was probably minimized by the fact the cold spring has left area crops are well behind their normal pace of development, said Goudreau. But the situation could be different the next time thunderheads form.

Once a crop suffers severe hail damage, he noted, it may no longer qualify for coverage. So it’s better to act now.

“If you’re going to buy it next week, you might as well buy it today — same price.”

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

Goudreau pointed out that large bodies of water, such as Sylvan, Gull and Pigeon lakes, also promote hail. Storms often split when they hit a lake, he added, citing Gull Lake as an example.

“Usually you get one arm that heads toward Red Deer, Innisfail and that area, and the other one will catch usually Ponoka and head that way.”

It’s too early to assess the demand for hail insurance this year, said Goudreau, but the high cost of farm inputs like fertilizer and the frequency of storms during the last two years could spur producers to insure.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FILE - In this Aug. 11, 2019, file photo, an iPhone displays the Facebook app in New Orleans. Facebook says it’s going all in to block the spread of bogus vaccine claims. In practice, that means the social network plans to ban a new bunch of false claims in addition to the old bunch of false claims about vaccines or COVID-19 that it has already banned. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)
Facebook says it will pay $1B over 3 years to news industry

Facebook says it will choose which publishers it will support

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
NDP will not trigger election as long as pandemic continues: Singh

NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says Admiral Art McDonald has voluntarily stepped down as Chief of Defence Staff due to an investigation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Admiral Art McDonald steps aside as defence chief amid investigation

Lt.-Gen. Wayne Eyre appointed acting chief of the defence staff

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

FILE - The Paramount Pictures gate is pictured on Aug. 23, 2016, in Los Angeles. The studio is joining other major Hollywood studios in slashing the traditional 90-day theatrical window. ViacomCBS on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, announced that the studio’s films, including “Mission: Impossible 7” and “A Quiet Place Part II,” will go to its fledgling streaming service, Paramount+, after 45 days in theaters. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)
‘Mission: Impossible 7’ will hit Paramount+ even sooner

90-day theatrical window reduced to 45 days

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Defending champion Einarson stays unbeaten in Tournament of Hearts

Players suggest a spectator-free debut made it less intimidating

Tiger Woods hits out of a bunker on the 17th hole on his way to winning the Canadian Open Championship at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont. on Sunday Sept.10, 2000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘The Tiger I know is a survivor and a fighter,’ Bill Paul weighs in on Tiger Woods

Woods was hospitalized after a single-vehicle crash near Los Angeles on Tuesday

Calgary Flames goaltender David Rittich (33) makes a save on Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Jimmy Vesey (26) as Flames' Christopher Tanev (8) and Joakim Nordstrom (20) defend during first-period NHL action in Toronto on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

‘Misunderstood’ Nylander ties game late, scores winner as Leafs beat Flames 2-1 in OT

Team Canada skip Kerri Einarson yells to her sweepers at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary, Alta., Friday, Feb. 19, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

Young Quebec team in the hunt to join Einarson, Homan in Hearts’ championship round

A crane is used to lift a vehicle following a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. Woods suffered leg injuries in the one-car accident and was undergoing surgery, authorities and his manager said. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Golf without Woods? Battered leg brings it closer to reality

Golf without Woods? Battered leg brings it closer to reality

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien looks towards the ice as his team takes on the Ottawa Senators during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadiens have fired head coach Julien and associate coach Kirk Muller. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien, associate coach Kirk Muller

Most Read