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Skyrocketing Insurance Rates and Higher Deductibles

Posted January 6, 2020 at: 4:31 pm

Skyrocketing Insurance Rates and Higher Deductibles Owners received an e-mail early in December 2019 which included the new LMS 1866 Insurance Policy and information about the rising costs of insuring The Electra and the significantly increased deductibles for water and sewage back-up damage. This situation, while exacerbated in the case of the Electra because of the number and value of claims over the past three years, is not limited to our building. The same factors are in play throughout Vancouver, across Canada, and beyond. Many stories have been published and you can find them yourselves by web searching news items for: condo + insurance An example of the stories in the media can be found here: https://bc.ctvnews.ca/insurance-sticker-shock-for-condo-owners-1.4732916
As this affects the building  Insurance for the Electra, which is valued at $100-million, has increased for the December 1, 2019 through November 30, 2020 period from $111,926 to $351,000, a 313% increase.  These costs were not foreseen in our previous budget (presented at the May 2019 AGM).  The additional expense will have some impact on our current budget, for the fiscal year which ends March 31, and a more significant impact on our upcoming budget (the fiscal year beginning April 1 and ending March 31, 2021).  The Insurance Policy is a Strata Joint expense, so the Strata will have to find a way to offset the expected deficit in its budget for the current fiscal year due to the increase in Insurance fees.  Although insurance costs have increased three times, our deductibles for water and sewage back-up damage were increased to $500,000 — which means that damage from water or sewage back-up to common property in the Electra must now be borne by Electra owners for the first $500,000.
As this affects you  You are responsible for water or sewage back-up damage that originates from within your suite for all costs up to the first $500,000.  It is highly unlikely that your current insurance policy covers such a significant deductible.
What you should do  Contact your insurance agency to discuss your options.  A summary of building coverages is attached to help inform your discussion.  Some owners have advised they have been successful increasing their coverage with their existing insurers, such as Wawanesa and Travellers, as well as an online insurer Sonnet [https://www.sonnet.ca].  Any plumbing work in your unit should be done only by a qualified contractor who carries adequate insurance.
 What the Strata Council will do  The Strata is reviewing procedures to address proactively water safety issues and will inform owners as progress is made.  The Strata is reviewing bylaws to ensure best practice with regard to chargebacks and liability.  You will be notified of an SGM to be held towards the end of January 2020. Further insurance information will be provided and new Bylaws will be put forward for a vote.
Moving forward  If you have a question regarding insurance, you are advised to call the Strata Manager (Ingrid Kurilova, Urban Properties, 604.681.4177 Ext.206, email ingrid@urbanproperties.ca).  Also the Residential Section has created an email insurance989res@gmail.com to facilitate information sharing. We ask that you email us with helpful information from your experiences with insurance agencies. As trends develop we will share them with all owners. We also invite your questions and suggestions.
The Residential Section Executive