Province will 'do what it can' to address spiking condo insurance costs, Horgan says
Published Friday, February 21, 2020 5:12PM PST Last Updated Friday, February 21, 2020 7:27PM PST
VANCOUVER -- B.C. Premier John Horgan says his government is looking into the issue of soaring insurance premiums for condo buildings in the province and will "do what it can" to manage those costs.
Property managers and condo owners have been calling for the provincial government to intervene in the industry, which some say is on the verge of a crisis.
Some strata councils have been unable to get insurance for their buildings, while others have seen their premiums increase by as much as 400 per cent in the past year.
"This is an issue that's just emerged in the past number of months," Horgan told reporters Friday morning after addressing the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade.
"(Finance) Minister (Carole) James has a committee of cabinet that's working on this," the premier added. "We're going to be speaking to the Insurance Bureau of Canada to try and find out what their rationale is for these unusually large spikes in costs and we're going to do what we can to manage those down."
Horgan described the sudden increases as the product of "a bunch of variables," and said they're affecting condo owners across the country, not just in British Columbia.
Speaking to CTV News Vancouver earlier this month, Insurance Brokers Association of BC executive director Chuck Byrne said the issue is "not rocket science."
"Any insurance company should be able to see a return on investment," Byrne said at the time. "The bottom line is that they're not obligated to insure anybody for anything."
That dynamic means that when insurers perceive an increase in risk in the market - as many currently do because of climate change and other factors - their rates increase and certain properties become less attractive to insure.
This poses a problem for strata councils, however.
“They have to have insurance for their mortgages, the strata property act says they have to have insurance, they won't be able to sell or buy or really do anything without insurance,” said Chris Stepchuk, managing broker and co-owner of Fort Park Property Management and Real Estate, speaking to CTV News earlier this month.
Stepchuk said he believes the government will have to step in to resolve the issue.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Regan Hasegawa