Hail damage record set

Severe weather in Central Alberta contributed to a record number of hail claims in the province this year.

Severe weather in Central Alberta contributed to a record number of hail claims in the province this year.

The Canadian Crop Hail Association reported this week that 5,500 hail-related losses were reported in 2012. These resulted in almost $90 million in claim payouts, with that figure excluding crop insurance endorsements.

Just over $79 million was collected in hail insurance premiums this year, said the association, which translates into a loss ratio of 113 per cent for underwriters.

Last year, Alberta farmers received $36 million in hail claim payouts. In 2010, the figure was $38 million. Claims numbered about 2,500 in both years.

Although the 5,500 claims this year was the most ever for Alberta, the total amount paid out was less than the tally in 2008.

Among the most severe hailstorms this summer was one on July 1 that hit Trochu and other areas.

Farmers in the Olds and Three Hills area also suffered extensive losses in a July 31 storm.

Across the Prairies, payouts to farmers were estimated at about $280 million, spread over 21,600 claims.

Nearly $341 million was collected from producer premiums, said the association, for an industry-wide loss ratio of just over 82 per cent.

In 2011, approximately $164 million was paid out on 15,000 losses.

Payments in Saskatchewan totalled $159 million on 13,500 losses. That compared with 11,800 losses and total payouts of nearly $121 million in 2011.

In Manitoba, producers filed about 2,500 claims for more than $31 million in payments.

Last year the province recorded 1,100 losses with payouts of approximately $6.9 million.

The association pointed out that payouts per loss have been rising as farms grow larger.

There are also now higher per acre limits for insurance coverage.

The average loss per claim in 2012 was $12,963, about $2,000 more than last year.