While we deal with the economic impact of COVID-19, there are many challenges facing all of us – and condo owners have got some major hurdles ahead with insurance.

On Tuesday, dozens of industry and government leaders joined a teleconference meeting to try to find solutions to curb skyrocketing condo insurance rates and high deductibles.

“This is a very serious issue. It’s a serious issue in the insurance industry and it’s a very serious issue for many of the stakeholders,” said Rob de Prius of the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

The teleconference involved dozens of stakeholders including B.C.’s Financial Services Authority, insurance industry representatives, condo owners, government representatives, the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. and many others.

“There is absolutely willingness for everyone to be collaborating,” explained de Pruis.

Some key aims and issues outlined in the meeting include:

  •  Finding ways to reduce the number of claims, which has been a huge problem leading to higher premiums
  • Finding ways to lower risks for condo buildings, including finding good locations for new development outside of flood plains and on solid ground
  •  Looking at changes to the strata act to mitigate risks for both individual owners and strata corporations
  •  Discussion of reviewing and strengthening building codes
  •  More emphasis on maintenance and repair
  •  Capping deductibles for individual condo owners

While nothing has been decided, time is short for some strata corporations whose insurance policies are coming up for renewal.

"In some circumstances strata corporations are getting the opportunity to extend for a month or two months but that's up to each insurer what they want to do," said Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C.

No matter what changes are made to help strata corporations cope with massive insurance increases Gioventu expects it will take at least six months to two years before they transition out of this difficult time period.

The health crisis isn’t making it easier for strata corporations that are facing insurance renewals and perhaps special assessments. Holding general meetings among condo owners isn’t an option. However, CHOA has offered to help them manage to do that without putting owners at risk.