Strata condos are an increasing share of the new housing market, with shared liabilities for owners. (Vernon Morning Star)

Poor construction, maintenance driving up B.C. strata insurance rates

Financial regulator finds water damage a major factor

Insurance premiums for strata properties have increased by about 40 per cent across B.C. and some deductibles have more than doubled in the past year, the B.C. Financial Services Authority finds in a new report.

Minor claims, many from water damage in new construction or due to lack of maintenance, have made strata insurance unprofitable and the market is “unhealthy” as a result, CEO Blair Morrison said in releasing the BCFSA’s preliminary findings June 16.

“Despite large increases already being felt, the situation has not stabilized, meaning many stratas, particularly in those in buildings considered to be high-risk by insurers, can expect to face further pricing pressures as well as the risk of not being able to obtain full strata property insurance coverage,” Morrison said.

The new Crown agency, established last year to regulate B.C. mortgage brokers, credit unions, trust and insurance companies, was directed by Finance Minister Carole James to review the situation in February. Just before the B.C. legislature was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic, the B.C. Liberal opposition raised reports of huge jumps in strata insurance rates and in some cases a refusal to cover condo buildings entirely.

RELATED: B.C. Liberals call for assistance on soaring strata insurance

RELATED: B.C. NDP says strata condo rental bans can remain until 2021

Aside from construction quality problems and lack of maintenance leading to water leaks, the review found “excessive exposure to earthquake risk has prompted insurers to reduce the amount of strata insurance they offer in the province.”

New building construction, building material changes and rising replacement costs have also affected insurance industry profitability, meaning “there is not enough capacity in the strata insurance market to support future expected demand,” the report says.

The strata insurance market is mostly global for-profit businesses. BCFSA found that only nine or 10 companies offer the insurance in B.C. Most are headquartered outside of Canada, and operate through three main brokers.

The BCFSA intends to provide a full report to James and the B.C. government by this fall.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Community comes together to create outdoor classroom at Kootenay school

Brent Kennedy Elementary has a new learning space thanks to an inspired teacher Kalesnikoff Lumber

Rossland Curling Club faces fee increase to continue using arena

The club will have to pay five per cent more this upcoming season to use facility

RDCK reduces number of properties under evacuation alert from Talbott Creek Fire to 46

Improved visibility has allowed helicopters to resume water suppression efforts on fire

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Interior Health reports three additional COVID-19 cases in region

The number of cases in the region since the beginning of the pandemic are now at 492

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

16 COVID-19 cases reported in Interior Health region

One person is in hospital and 34 people are isolating

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Missing Lardeau man not found, underwater search called off

Thomas Schreiber was last seen on Sept. 15

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read