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SGI Canada received 210 home insurance claims in Saskatchewan from cold snap

After a severe cold snap in January across three provinces, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says the damage bill is more than $180 million for Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

According to a release, the bureau says about 70 per cent of the insurance claims related to the extreme cold were for personal property and damage caused by frozen and burst water pipes.

SGI Canada said they received 210 claims that fall under the category of water escape.

“That cold snap likely did mean somewhat of an increase in claims,” said Tyler McMurchy, SGI Canada spokesperson.

“When you’re looking at something that involves water escape, water can obviously be very damaging to your property (and) to your home.”

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McMurchy said that IBC noted the average cost of a claim is around $20,000. With SGI Canada’s insurance claims made in January, McMurchy said the number is still in its preliminary stage but the estimated costs for Saskatchewan’s insurance claims for the month of January total $4.2 million.

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“(With) some of these claims … the repairs would be still underway,” he said. “The claims might not be settled yet.”

The bureau said in a statement that the $180 million is an initial estimate and it highlights the growing cost pressures on premiums that people have to pay.

Rob de Pruis, the national director of consumer and industry relations with the bureau says insurance policies are limited when people are away from their home during heating season, requiring someone else to check every day or every second day to ensure damage is minimized when found early.

“We all must do better to protect ourselves from loss or damage resulting from natural disasters, which continue to have an outsized impact on the most vulnerable,” de Pruis says in the statement.

— with files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Bursting pipes across Saskatchewan as extreme cold continues'

Bursting pipes across Saskatchewan as extreme cold continues

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