Sask. hail claims “unprecedented”: report

Hail insurance providers in Saskatchewan have been “inundated” with claims in the past two weeks, with some companies reporting an “unprecedented” level of activity.

In a report released Thursday, the Canadian Crop Hail Association said the number of hail claims filed in Saskatchewan as of July 15 had topped 6,800, about double the normal number of claims for that time of year and up from about 1,000 in the association’s July 4 report.

Particularly large numbers of claims came in from storms on July 9, 10 and 11, the association said, noting serious storms in many areas of the province, particularly the southern third of the grain belt, where claims have come in from “virtually every rural municipality.”

Wait times for damaged crops to be seen by hail insurance adjusters in Saskatchewan may now vary from one to four weeks, depending on the location and the date of the storm, the association said.

Young crops can often recover, at least partially, particularly if the weather is favourable, the association said, noting some claims are being deferred until a later date so crop recovery can be assessed.

In Alberta, meanwhile, the association reports hail claims are running ahead of last year at this time — and last year, the group said, turned out to be a record for hail claims in the province.

Nearly 1,400 claims have been registered, the association said, up from fewer than 400 two weeks ago. A storm hit Lacombe County on July 9 and another hit crops in the Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Taber region of southern Alberta on July 10.

“Producers are reminded that claims are to be filed within three days of a storm as this helps organize the work patterns for adjusters,” the association said.

A “significant” storm hit western Manitoba July 10, resulting in claims between the Trans-Canada Highway and Riding Mountain National Park, where baseball-sized hail stones were reported as destroying crops and breaking windows and windshields.

As of July 15, the association said, Manitoba claims totaled roughly 1,250, which is “about normal for this time of year,” and up from less than 400 claims two weeks earlier.

The association’s membership includes 11 private and public hail insurance companies in the three Prairie provinces.

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