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Prairie hail claims rise: report

Saskatchewan is headed for a record season in terms of insurance payments to farmers for hail damage, an insurers’ group reported Thursday.

The Canadian Crop Hail Association, which releases a review every second Thursday during the crop season, said “all indicators point to heavy losses” this year in the province, due both to the severity of storms and the higher levels of coverage farmers bought this year.

Including a storm in the northernmost grain-growing area of the province just over two weeks ago, around Shellbrook and Paddockwood, as well as a “broad band” of new claims, mostly from the southeast to the northwest, due to storms from Sept. 4 to 6, the number of claims in the province has risen by over 1,000 to over 19,000.

Areas of Saskatchewan hit by hail in early September include Redvers, Nokomis, Strasbourg, Drake, Craik, Landis, Wilkie, Delisle, Radisson, Handel, Strasbourg, Leask, Debden, Norquay and Porcupine Plain, the insurers’ group said.

Manitoba claims jump

Hail claim numbers remain below normal in Manitoba, but the province saw a jump of over 700 claims in the past two weeks, to nearly 3,000, the group reported.

Most of the new claims date from Sept. 5 and 6, scattered over western Manitoba including areas such as Swan River, Dauphin, Roblin, Birtle, Brookdale, Gilbert Plains, Minnedosa, Baldur, Neepawa, Shoal Lake, Somerset, Virden, Souris, Holland, Strathclair, Grandview, Sandy Lake and Treherne.

Most areas of Alberta, meanwhile, reported some hail activity in the past two weeks, but the number of producers affected remains lower than in previous storms experienced during the summer months. Areas with the most hail in the past two weeks included Strathmore, St. Paul, Lacombe and Ponoka, the group said.

The total number of claims from Alberta farmers so far this season have risen from about 4,650 to about 5,050 in the past two weeks, not counting claims on the hail endorsement offered as part of crop insurance coverage in Alberta.

The group, which represents 12 insurance providers on the Prairies, reminded farmers in all provinces that if they must harvest a crop before it can be adjusted, they must leave “adequate and appropriate” evidence such as check strips. A lack of evidence may otherwise jeopardize a farmer’s claim.

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