B.C. government unveils new strata insurance regulations, pledges transparency

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The British Columbia government has unveiled regulatory changes it hopes will help bring transparency to the province’s strata insurance market.

Strata home owners have been hit by massive increases in insurance costs in the province over the last year.

Read more: B.C. condo insurance rates up 40% in ‘unhealthy’ market, regulator finds

An interim report in June from the B.C. Financial Services Agency, which regulates credit unions, insurance and trust companies, pensions and mortgage brokers, found that strata insurance premiums had risen by 40 per cent on average, provincewide, while year-over-year hikes in deductibles had increased by triple digits.

Condo owner launches petition demanding gov’t action over rising strata insurance
Condo owner launches petition demanding gov’t action over rising strata insurance

A petition calling for government action to deal with the skyrocketing prices has attracted close to 15,0000 signatures.

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Starting Nov. 1, insurers or their agents will need to give strata corporations 30-days notice of an intention to renew or materially change a policy.

“This change ensures strata corporations have advanced warning of cost increases and has time to seek other insurance options if desired,” said the Ministry of Finance in a media release.

More sky-high insurance strata increases
More sky-high insurance strata increases

Insurance agents will now also be required to disclose their commissions, with penalties of up to $ 25,000 for individuals and $ 50,000 for companies that fail to do so.

READ MORE: ‘Government needs to get involved’: B.C. strata’s plea after insurance bill with 780% hike

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The ministry is also banning referral fees to strata property managers from insurance deals.

The The B.C. Financial Services Agency estimates there are nine or 10 companies providing strata insurance in B.C., which are mainly headquartered outside of Canada.

The regulator’s final report into the market is expected some time this fall.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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