I survived the ice storm and all I got was $50

Remember the ice storm of 1998? In its aftermath, a class-action lawsuit was brought against four home insurance companies. Fifteen years later, one Cult MTL writer collected some cash.

The literal money shot

The estate of my old man received a pleasant surprise in the mail late last week: a cheque for $50.92, dividends of a class-action lawsuit settlement from the great ice storm — you know, the one that left the city without power for a while at the beginning of 1998. Yup, 15 years after spending three days huddled around a Franklin stove to keep warm, my family finally got some sweet, sweet compensation/redemption/closure in the form of cash money.

Quebec’s Superior Court only approved the $12.5-million out-of-court settlement between non-profit consumer watchdogs Option and four home insurance companies (Allianz, AXA, ING and Belair) this past December. The gist of Option’s suit was that the companies hadn’t paid out enough to policyholders for additional ice storm spending (sweaters? salt?). Yeah, I wish it had been a sexier suit, too — some sort of conspiracy involving ice storm truthers. We could have even called them Stormers.

The ice storm remains Canada’s costliest — but otherwise most pleasant — natural disaster, with $1.6 billion doled out by insurance companies. For our troubles, our Franklin stove and chimney needed to be cleaned afterwards, which almost certainly cost more than $50.92 ($38.16 in 1998 dollars, if you adjust for inflation). On the other hand, school was cancelled for two weeks, which was awesome. The cheque also came with the promise of another cheque later this year, so perhaps after cashing another 50 bones, I’ll finally be able to move on with my life.

So where will this overdue windfall go towards? Well, I’m behind on paying my Hydro bill, coincidentally enough, so that’s an easy call. Or booze. Or ice — bags and bags of ice. To keep things cold.

Or maybe I’ll send it to the This Hour Has 22 Minutes crew in exchange for a copy of their Ice Storm Beer sketch on VHS. It was funny, and it doesn’t seem to exist online.

If you think you’re eligible for a cut of the ice storm money pie, call 1-855-292-8861, email icestorm98@intact.net or visit icestorm.intactinsurance.com.

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