A year later, Calgary’s northeast still recovering from hail damage

A car with hail damage on the roof parked on Taralake Dr. in Calgary on Thursday, June 3, 2021. (Photo by Raghvi Sharma/SAIT)

The fall-out from the tennis ball-sized hail storm and flooding that affected Calgary’s northeast communities a year ago is still not over.

On June 13, 2020, a massive hailstorm hit Calgary’s Redstone, Cityscape, Saddle ridge, Martindale, Tara dale and other neighboring communities. Almost a year after the storm a large number of homes and businesses are still in the process of repair. At an estimated price tag of $ 1.2 billion, the hailstorm is the fourth costliest natural disaster in Canada’s history. Most of the losses were to vehicles and private property, followed by commercial properties. As the hailstones fell at 80 to 100 km/h, the storm damaged at least 70,000 homes and vehicles. In some areas north of the city, it also, destroyed the entire agricultural crops for the season.

“I lived in the damaged house for eight consecutive months since I did not had enough money to start the repairing process unless I have got the claim adjusted,” said Zeeshan Chaudhery a chauffeur by profession and a new resident of Redstone. Chaudhery started building his new house in December 2019 and unfortunately encountered non-compensable loss within six months of its construction.

The wind-driven hail smashed vehicles, defaced windows, shattered windshields, and also peeled siding off houses and businesses. It left a several inch thick layer of ice on the ground, resulting in a monochromatic icy landscape.

“I am an immigrant and my car was not very expensive but it was paid off and was purchased in cash and had third party insurance making me ineligible to qualify for any claim, said Nikhil Patel, who lives in a basement suite on Saddle Lake Drive, which has an open-air parking facility only. “Ultimately, I had to sell my car for loss just $1500 and get a new one in place at my own cost.”

According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, to be protected against hail damage, an individual needs comprehensive insurance coverage.

Many victims of the hailstorm find themselves bearing the full cost of the damage. In many cases, the loss is not worth claiming because if the cost of repairing does not exceed the deductible, the charges for the repairs remain on the head of the owner. All insurance policies specify some deductible that is the responsibility of the policy holder. So even the people who are receiving insurance claims have to pay for some of their losses out of pocket.

Insurance rates also generally go up to as high as eight percent after two comprehensive claims as per Carinsurance.com rate analysis. This is because insurance companies are also affected by massive claims.

“We do not pay the full amount and a certain amount is always deductible and after claim, premium will always go up next year,” said Shweta Paul who works as an Insurance advisor and claim adjuster with Co-operators General Insurance Company. “From the past one year with the highest number of claims we are making no money. Instead, we are paying for the loss due to natural calamity.”

The consequences of the hailstorm were so adverse that the Insurance Bureau of Canada now urges Albertans to protect their property from extreme weather conditions, study weather forecasts and undertake necessary mitigating measures to be implemented at the time of such a calamity.

The damage from hailstorm does qualify for the provincial disaster relief funding via the Disaster Recovery Program, said Jason Kenney.

A house under construction in Calgary on Thursday, June 3, 2021. Some houses are damaged to an extent that they have to be constructed again and fully renovated after the hail damage. (Photo by Raghvi Sharma/SAIT)
About Raghvi Sharma 5 Articles
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Raghvi Sharma is working as a writer for The Press during the 2021 academic year.