Calgary condo owners look for help as insurance premiums spike
Published Friday, November 1, 2019 7:56PM MDT
Last Updated Saturday, November 2, 2019 10:43AM MDT
CALGARY -- Condo owners of a southeast Calgary condo building received a surprise this week when their insurance carrier hiked their rates by more than $250,000.
Clarence Spring says he moved to the Mosaic Mirage condominium complex five years ago for several reasons.
"I like the location," he said of the McKenzie Towne development. "it's easy walking distance for shopping and I can be close to my children."
What he doesn’t like, however, are his insurance premiums.
This week, Mosaic’s insurance broker, Hub International, informed residents their collective premium was jumping from around $69,000 to more than $322,000.
"I’m not much of a mathematician, but that’s a nearly 500 per cent increase," he said.
Spring said there were few claims from condo residents over the last year, the only significant one being a dryer fire that caused roughly $20,000 damage.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, it's up to the individual insurance company to determine what risks they are willing to take on.
"There are many insurance companies across Canada and every insurance company has their own risk appetite and makes individual business decision on the types of properties that they want to insure and the risks that they’re willing to take on," said Rob De Pruis, director of consumer and industry relations.
'Single most challenging class'
In a statement to CTV, a HUB spokesperson said rates aren’t going up because of any particular risk but because it’s one of the few ways to keep the insurance industry afloat.
"The insurance market for residential real estate in Canada, and more specifically condominiums, is the single most challenging class of business in the insurance industry today," the spokesperson said.
"Property losses have continued to escalate and it is simply not a profitable class of business for the insurers who pay the claims,resulting in some insurers reducing their exposure or exiting the market entirely."
The company said losses from water damage, fire and catastrophic weather events have gone up while replacement costs continued to rise.
"The insurers have now responded with rate corrections and other potential corrective measures such as increased deductibles," the spokesperson said.
Spring said the rate jump means condo owners in his complex will be paying nearly $1,000 dollars more per year.
“Somebody should intervene, the government should intervene,” he said. “There should be some protection for us because we're mandated that we have to (buy insurance)."
A spokesperson for Service Alberta said the department “has not heard from condo boards in Calgary” regarding a spike in insurance premiums.