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Managing Risky Business: Q1/2015

In this issue of Managing Risky Business, read about:

[Download this update as a PDF]

Group Insurance Update

Our efforts in recent years to collect program claims data enables us to provide you with a more detailed picture of where your insurance dollars are going and where we can work together to improve risk management.

From the start of the policy term on November 1, 2014 to February 28, 2015, we’ve had a total of 34 property claims, which is significantly less than the 71 we had this time last year. The total estimated cost of these claims is $4.3M. As you can see below, most of our property claims have been due to fire and water damage.

Both the Claims Trust Fund as well as the program property insurers have covered the costs of these claims. Insurers have picked up approximately $1.3M in less common, higher value claims while we’ve drawn $3.1M on the Claims Trust Fund for more common, lower value claims. This means there is $8.9M left in the Fund for the remainder of the 2015 term.


Property Claim Causes, November 2014 to February 2015All-Property-Claims-Nov-2014-to-Feb-2015
Water Losses,
November 2014 to February 2015
Fire Losses,
November 2014 to February 2015
water-claims fire-claims

Liability Claims

On the liability front, we’ve also seen a decline from this time last year, with the total claims coming in at 30 (versus 53 in 2013/14). Trip/slip and falls have remained the highest causes of loss both this and last year – not surprising given all the snow and ice on the ground in these past two winters, though I strongly encourage providers to keep their walkways, stairs and parking lots clear of snow and ice during the winter months.


Utilizing Our Contractors to Mitigate Risks

To help housing providers further reduce risks in their buildings, HSC is encouraging contractors that are investigating losses (e.g. fire damage, flooding) to flag any additional hazards. In one instance, a flood investigation enabled us to identify a unit where the risk of fire was elevated (e.g. clutter; cigarette burns on the floor and furniture throughout the unit). In another, a claim investigator discovered aluminum wiring, which had charred a wooden truss (likely due to overheating) and posed a significant fire hazard.

Encouraging contractors to look out for potential property risks is just another way HSC’s insurance program is tailored to meet the unique needs of social housing providers.

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Tenant Insurance

I’m pleased to report that since November 1, 2014, when we made several major administrative changes to its Tenant Insurance Program, we’ve seen a significant upswing in the number of tenants who are obtaining tenant insurance. Here is a graph that compares the number of new policies we’ve had from November 2014 to January 2015 (in blue) to the number we had last year (in fuschia).


This program also sees its own share of claims. In the past year, we’ve had 130 claims with an approximate value of $435K. The breakdown in claims is as follows (you’ll note the similarity to the first pie chart above):


We’ve also seen growing interest by housing providers across Ontario to promote the program and implement mandatory tenant insurance policies in their buildings. In November, the board of directors at CityHousing Hamilton passed a resolution to introduce mandatory tenant insurance for all new tenants effective July 2015. Thunder Bay District Social Services Administration Board is also slated to implement mandatory tenant insurance as of September 2015.


Applying online for tenant insurance: Webinar for Providers

We’ve now completed work on an online application for residents so they can purchase insurance on the web. To ahead of the launch of this function, we’re holding a webinar for housing provider staff on how the online application works and considerations to support online applications.

Sessions will be held on the following dates:

  • Thursday April 23, 10am-11am
  • Thursday April 23, 2pm-3pm
  • Wednesday April 29, 11am-12pm


Register for a Tenant Insurance webinar


You can find out more about the HSC Tenant Insurance Program by visiting its website at

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Recent Insurance Events in the News

While disasters aren’t pleasant to talk about, they can help us get new insights into risk management and lend perspective to the human and economic cost of claims. The following are just some of the stories on incidents reported in the news since my last update:


On a more positive note, the fire on Vimy Boulevard in Renfrew did offer a small miracle. Right after I was made aware of the fire, I headed over to offer hands-on support for the housing provider. It was about 24 hours after the fire and quite cold. As I was going about my work on site, Fire Marshal Investigator Peter Hamilton rescued a cat that had been buried in frozen fire debris (left). Eight lives left, I guess!

The other positive note in this case is because Renfrew County Housing Corporation uses HSC’s Group Program, they’ll be able to take advantage of HSC’s unique additional living expenses coverage for their tenants – due to the extent of the damage, residents are expected to be out of their homes for between six and eight months. This will help the county avoid a significant portion of the costs in temporarily housing displaced residents.

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News from the HSC Insurance & Risk Management Team


Since my last update, Daniel Chadwick and Kisha Reddish, our two new employees, have gotten up to speed on our insurance and risk management programs and have started to get out of the office to visit providers. Daniel is our Claims Coordinator and is doing wonders in terms of organizing our claims data, managing contractor repairs, adjusters and liaising between HSC and providers. Kisha manages our tenant insurance program and has been working on moving the online application towards its launch as well laying the foundation for tracking coverage compliance in buildings where tenant insurance is mandatory.

In early March, Diane Farkas, who started with us back in Spring 2013 to process tenant insurance applications on a temporary basis, decided to leave her position to obtain her broker’s license. I sincerely wish her well as she embarks on a new phase in her career.

In the meantime, I’ve been out and about working with providers and service managers on claims and risk management. Some highlights include:

  • Facilitating contingency planning sessions with providers in Sault Ste Marie, White River, Sudbury, Toronto
  • Program updates to OMSSA’s Service Manager Housing Network and HSC’s Service Manager Advisory Committee in February
  • Presentations on our program at the ONPHA Regional Meetings in Windsor, London and Kitchener in March as well as more to come in April (see here for the full listing of ONPHA regional meetings)

If you’d like to meet with us, we’d be happy to visit you in your community. Simply send me an email or call me at 1.866.268.4451 x.314.

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[view previous issues of Managing Risky Business]


Call Me Maybe
One Life
Turn Me On
Glad You Came
Rack City
Stand Behind The Music
Ninjas in Paris
What Makes You Beautiful
The Motto
Wild Ones
Turn Up The Music
Middle Finger
Sorry For Party Rocking
Is Anybody Out There?
Safe and Sound