May, 10 2021 Published by Eastern Ontario Chapter
Condominium/Strata Corporation Insurance Q&A
From the Volume 28 issue of the CCI Eastern Ontario Condo Contact Magazine
Insurance Bureau of Canada and the insurance industry recognize the seriousness of the insurance affordability issues some condominium and strata corporations and owners are currently facing. In response, the insurance industry has developed a Condominium/Strata Action Plan that will help find solutions to improve insurability. By working together with all stakeholders we believe we can help find solutions to stabilize insurance costs.
To learn more about the current situation, the Condominium/Strata Action Plan and what you can do now, visit ibc.ca/insurance-101/condo-action-plan.
This article is reprinted with the permission of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is happening in the commercial insurance market that led to these challenges?
Coming into 2020, Canada’s commercial insurance industry was experiencing challenges because of the following main contributing factors:
- An extended period of weather-related claims that were both more severe and more frequent
- Record-low interest rates (affecting investment income) and capacity withdrawal in certain commercial product lines.
The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded these existing insurance industry challenges and has created significant issues related to affordability and availability of commercial insurance in certain sectors.
This was confirmed in a recent report by Deloitte, “State of the Canadian Commercial Property and Casualty Insurance Market,” which concluded that the challenges affecting the availability of commercial insurance are complex, with global macroeconomic factors and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic compounding the issue. The report can be found here.
We are also seeing costs rise for labour, due to a shortage of skilled tradespeople, and a rise in the cost of building materials, which contribute to the cost of claims and consequently property insurance premiums.
What other factors may impact the price of condo or strata insurance?
Insurance is about risk. Some properties may be viewed as higher risk due to a variety of factors, which can affect the availability and affordability of insurance coverage. This can include:
• The type of construction and the materials used in a building’s construction, including whether material is fire resistive (e.g. wood frame structures are considered higher risk).
• The geographical location of a condo or strata (e.g. buildings located on flood plains pose a greater risk of water damage due to overland flooding and for buildings located further north the risk of water damage from frozen and burst pipes is more prevalent).
• A condo or strata corporation’s claims history (e.g. repeated water damage claims or multiple other claims). Inadequate maintenance can increase the number of insurance claims made by condo/strata corporations, which accounts for increases in premiums.
• Whether it is a multi-unit, multi-storey condo or strata, multi-unit buildings are more prone to water damage through accidental overflowing of toilets and bathtubs, as well as burst pipes and supply line failures.
• Whether units are occupied by tenants or owners. A unit occupied by tenants may not be maintained as adequately and repairs may not happen as quickly as an owner occupied unit.
What resources are available to condo/strata corporations with questions or concerns about insurance coverage?
Earlier this year, IBC and its members launched a Condominium/Strata Action Plan to help address some of the concerns and issues facing condo and strata corporations. The plan includes:
- A dedicated Risk Manager who will work with a broker of record of a condo/strata and their respective condo/strata boards to increase awareness about how insurers view risks and evaluate properties. The Risk Manager will provide information on how claims history, building materials and location can affect insurance rates. To date, the Risk Manager has been able to help a number of condo corporations in Alberta and BC secure insurance coverage.
- In January 2020, IBC launched a National Task Force on Commercial Insurance to bring together insurers, government and stakeholders to find common sense solutions to assist businesses, such as condo or strata corporations, in obtaining affordable insurance. The Task Force will release its final report with recommendations aimed at improving insurance availability and affordability in the commercial insurance market in early 2021.
- Consumer education aimed to helping condo/strata owners understand some of the challenges and what role they can play in managing insurance costs.
- Shared risk management information with a number of condo and strata corporation groups, including presenting webinars to corporation members.
- IBC encourages condo or strata corporations with questions or concerns about insurance to contact IBC’s Business Insurance Helpline at 1-844-2ask-IBC. For more information, please visit IBC’s dedicated web sites condoactionplan.ca or businessinsurancehelp.ca.
If you have any questions about your commercial insurance policy or want more details about the current market conditions, visit www.businessinsurancehelp.ca or call 1-844-2ask-IBC.
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