Market Overview

Social Media Buzz About Canada Wildfires Could Spell Bad News For Insurance Companies

Social Media Buzz About Canada Wildfires Could Spell Bad News For Insurance Companies

The raging fires in Alberta have caused a devastating amount of damage to local residents. However, the fires could continue to burn Canadian insurance companies long after they are extinguished.

The latest data from TickerTags indicate that the Alberta fires could potentially cost insurers billions of dollars. The size of the Alberta evacuation, as well as the number of social media mentions of property damage, are bad signs for insurers.

TickerTags monitors social media sites to identify trends by searching for words or phrases that appear together in social media content, such as tweets.

Toronto-listed Intact Financial Corporation, Canada’s leading private, public and commercial property and casualty insurer comprising approximately 17 percent of the Canadian market, will likely be the hardest hit. On Monday, Intact estimated that total insured damages could amount to between $1.00 and $1.20 per share.

Related Link: Vox's Canada Population Map Is Pretty Incredible

So far, 98,000 people have been evacuated in Alberta. For comparison, only 23,000 people were evacuated during last year’s California wildfires, which cost more than $1 billion in insurance payouts and nearly $2 billion in total damages.

Organic social media mentions of “Alberta” + “fire” remain 36 percent below peak mentions of “fire” + “California” last year. However, mentions of “home” + “fire,” “fire” + “evacuate” and “home” + “evacuate” are now 54 percent, 160 percent and 90 percent higher than peak mentions during last year’s California fires.

In addition to Intact, Canadian insurers Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd (OTC: FRFHF) and Allstate Corp (NYSE: ALL) could also be on the hook for big payouts as well.

Disclosure: The author holds no position in the stocks mentioned.


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