Government’s First Actions on Strata Insurance
After hearing from strata corporations, owners and other stakeholders - including REALTORS® - for several months, on June 23 the BC Government introduced legislative changes to help address the high costs of strata insurance.
Strong advocacy work by BCREA and the real estate boards has resulted in BCREA being named as a contributor in the government's news release and three of our recommendations being included:
- Add insurance information to the Form B Information Certificate, with liability for accuracy resting with the insurer or insurance agent instead of the strata corporation. We hope this can happen quickly after the legislation is passed.
- Require strata corporations to inform owners about insurance coverage, provide notice of any policy changes, including increasing deductibles. This will be in effect as soon as the legislation is passed and will give all owners a better understanding of their situation.
- Strengthen notification requirements by insurers to strata corporations of changes to insurance coverage and costs, or an intent not to renew. The government hasn't specified how much notice will be given, but BCREA asked that strata corporations receive 60 days' notice.
Other measures include ending referral fees between insurers and property managers, identifying when stratas are not required to get full insurance coverage and strengthening depreciation reporting requirements. All proposed changes have to be debated in the legislature, and most of them will require more work and consultation by the government and others (ideally) to work out the details.
The government knows these changes won't fix the problem, but this is a start. This fall, the BC Financial Services Authority, which regulates provincial financial services including insurance, will publish research findings that will help the government create effective policies to help BC strata owners and corporations now and into the future.
We'll continue to keep Realtors informed as this issue develops.
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