Tornadoes are the most disastrous, violent and lethal wind events in the world. In the United States, more than 4,000 fatalities and US$20 trillion in damages were reported between 1950-1994. Recently on September 21st 2018, an outbreak of six tornadoes devastated the Ottawa-Gatineau area in Canada causing damages that might approach US$100 million. Due to the rise in tornado events in recent years, it is expected that the insurance industries and home owners will be more interested in tornado risk mitigation.
Resilience is toughness, or the ability to function and bounce back after a traumatic event. In this Mitacs research project, the focus is on housing, and resilience results from features that protect Canadian lives and property from natural disasters. One of the ways that governments ensure the safety of Canadians is through The Canada Model Building Code. The insurance industry is also committed to protecting lives and property by contributing advice about resilience in Building Code Review Committees.
This research is aimed at better characterizing the exposure associated with three particular natural hazards – earthquake, flood and wind. The work represents an unprecedented collaboration between three leaders in the field of natural hazards at Western University and the insurance industry through the efforts of individual interns and the associated projects aimed at evaluating risk and the resulting exposure from a practical and relatively simplified perspective.
In Canada, motorists are faced with a wide range of environmental conditions. Weather, in the form of rain, snow, other frozen precipitation, fog or strong winds, occurs 10 to 20 percent of the time, depending on the location and year. This project, which involves a three-way partnership between State Farm Insurance, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction and the University of Waterloo, explores weather-related driving risks in the Province of Ontario, Canada, in order to better understand how risk is increased during inclement conditions.
Risk to residential and commercial properties due to wildfire in areas of increased human habitation is an important but relatively unstudied phenomenon. Insurers are likely exposed to an increasing risk in the face of climate change and increased population in forested areas. The internship’s aim is to study this problem and to provide an estimate of the probability of a major wildfire event in the Muskoka region of Central Ontario sometime in the next ten years. The research team will also estimate the loss which insurers would expect to incur if such an event were to occur.