B.C. MLA calls for action to address growing strata insurance crisis
VANCOUVER -- A B.C. MLA has introduced a private member's bill aimed at addressing the growing crisis around strata insurance in the province.
On Tuesday, Kamloops-South Thompson MLA Todd Stone announced he's proposing changes to the Strata Property Act that include a measure to clarify what issues a strata or owner are responsible for. Stone says this is a start to addressing the challenges facing the strata insurance industry.
"The government needs to take some action and committing today as they did to talking about it … is cold comfort for strata unit owners," Stone said.
For many B.C. residents, like Tarrance Grieve who has lived in his Port Moody townhouse for 21 years, monthly strata rates could be rising because of increasing insurance rates.
"A few weeks ago we received a notice from the management company that looks after our strata advising us that our deductibles had been increased from $5,000 to $50,000 and that we had a 27 per cent increase in our strata fee but it was only for an extension from Jan. 1 to Feb. 29," Grieve told CTV News Vancouver.
"Then two days ago, we received a notice from the same management company advising us that as of the 29th, we may not have any insurance."
According to Grieve, the management company hasn't heard back from the insurance broker yet.
"I'm caught in a position really wondering what is going to happen," he said.
Grieve said he thinks regulations should be in place so that homeowners help reduce risk, like requiring scheduled plumbing upgrades or sprinklers to be installed. Grieve also said he thinks the insurance industry and government should be working together to come up with those regulations.
During question period Tuesday, Finance Minister Carole James said she and the housing minister are engaging in discussions to look for a solution.
"This is an issue that strata corporations are facing across the country," James said.
"Rising costs are a challenge, increased prices when it comes to real estate create an additional challenge when it comes to British Columbia. That's why we're working hard with the strata associations and the insurance industry."
But from Grieve's perspective, not enough has been done by any government yet.
"I think this is a very significant problem and I'm very concerned that I haven't seen much attention paid to it by any level of government," he said.
"I think this will affect all levels of government … buildings won't be built by developers if they can't get insurance, people won't be buying property and people won't be able to sell property.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Bhinder Sajan and Ben Miljure