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Managing Risky Business: Q1/2017

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In this issue of Managing Risky Business, read about:

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Looking Back at 2016

2016 Liability Claims

In 2016 we welcomed a new liability underwriter to the program. They have worked to get up to speed with our program and so far we’ve been pleased with their work. Providers submitted 103 liability claims with an approximate total value of $1M. The pie chart below shows the distribution of the claims, which fall into two broad categories.

liability-claims

Bodily injury claims, which make up the majority of the liability claims, are made up of a variety of types (e.g. dog bites, falling tree branches, slips/trips/falls on various services). However, the largest percentage of the claims (+25%) relate to snow/ice slip and falls.

As a result, we strongly encourage you to think about how you manage risk during cold weather – see the winter safety story below for further details. For example, your contractors may respond to snow events but how do you manage ice forming during freeze thaw cycles? It is important to have a plan and ensure your maintenance staff is prepared.

If you have submitted a liability claim and would like to know the status, contact Kisha Reddish.

2016 Property Claims

As usual, the bulk of the property claims arose due to various types of water and fire incidents. While our 2016 claims volume is down, the severity is up with a number of large claims occurring over the past year. That said, we continue to find that working directly with contractors and providers is proving successful in terms of limiting claims costs and repairing damage in a timely manner. The biggest percentage of water claims relate to property damage due to burst pipes. With fire, it is “other or unknown” — this indicates fire incidents that are currently under investigation, where the cause appears to have been suspicious but unproven, or where the cause is simply unknown:

property-graph1

oil_tank

In 2015 and 2016, one area where we’ve seen an increase in both costly and messy claims is oil tank leaks. These claims are particularly problematic because:

  • It’s difficult for us to estimate and reserve funds for damages because contractors must simply dig until they find no oil.
  • Claims are expensive for the insurance program and for the provider, who sometimes can incur costs beyond the claim itself.
  • There are potential fines from the Ministry of the Environment.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada recommends that you regularly inspect your tank for signs of corrosion and to ask your oil distributor to do a visual inspection of your tank if you are uncertain about its condition.

If you have submitted a property claim and would like to know the status, contact Daniel Chadwick.

 

2016 Tenant Insurance

In 2016 we were pleased with the increasing numbers of providers who are adopting mandatory tenant insurance – it signals that this sector is serious about management of risk. Below is a chart that shows the growth of HSC’s tenant program since 2014.

tenant_growth

We recently met with tenant insurance underwriters for the HSC program. In addition to growing numbers, they are also pleased with claim performance – claims that are being submitted by tenants are generally reasonable and providers recovering their deductibles. In 2017, we hope even more providers will implement mandatory tenant insurance as part of their rental agreements to protect residents and reduce provider exposure to risk.

 

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insurance-program-backgrounder

2017 Renewals

Every year, HSC spends several months in the Spring and Summer meeting face-to-face with UK and North American underwriters (insurers) to get the best possible coverage for our program participants at the most competitive rates.

This process is known as “marketing” the program. This is where the power of our group really helps. For insurers, this makes our program attractive. However, some are uncertain about social housing, so it’s our job to persuade them that the program design and our combined efforts at managing risk make it attractive for underwriting.

This intensive marketing process has allowed HSC to keep the group premiums level since 2014 right into the 2017 renewal year. This year we were also able to negotiate improved coverage. Our additional living expense coverage – the coverage that pays for tenant accommodations and meals in the event of a disaster that requires them to leave their home – has more than doubled from $1M per claim to $2.5M.

Our program backgrounder provides an overview of the program, results for 2016 and information on what we hope to do in 2017.

Read the Program Backgrounder

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Forum Materials Now Available!

2016-risk-forum-1

On October 26, 2016, HSC held its first ever Insurance & Risk Management Forum. The event was a great success and left both attendees and staff feeling energized. Speakers discussed claims and risk management, shared their experiences and best practices.

I’d like to thank both our speakers and attendees for coming to join us in a sector-specific discussion about effective ways to manage risk.

2016-risk-forum-22016-risk-forum-3

Not able to make it to the event? You can download the presentations by clicking on the button below:

View 2016 Risk Management Forum materials

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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:

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Severe Rainstorms: Avoiding Damage

In the past year we also saw a number of claims related to rainstorms and their impacts on housing portfolios. Apparently this is consistent with a national trend. According to the Insurance Board of Canada, claim payouts from severe weather have doubled every five to ten years since the 1980s. Storm events that had typically occurred once in every 100 years now seem to be happening every two or three years.

This video from The Weather Channel is narrated by the Mayor of Windsor and focuses on the severe weather during Summer 2016.

They’re also occurring in every area of the Province. In late July, heavy rains resulted in flooding in Toronto. In September, a rainstorm in Windsor and Tecumseh set a new record. And more recently, at the end of November, a record amount of rain fell in Thunder Bay – breaking the record not only for a single day but for the entire month of November.

There are things you can do to prevent water damage from happening before a severe storm hits: checking roof drains, elevator sump pumps, and landscape drainage. A helpful checklist is available here. This article, from Canadian Apartment magazine, also identifies some things you can look out for during and after a rainstorm.

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New Workshop & Tools: Directors & Officers Risk Management

In 2017, our program will focus its risk management efforts on improving our group’s knowledge of Directors and Officers (D&O) Risk Management. Some Directors and Officers are unaware of the fact that they can be held personally responsible for liability associated with their duties or actions. Below is a chart of D&O insurance claims by type over the past few years:

dandograph_cropped

It’s our goal to assist provider staff as well as directors and officers in the risks associated with leading an organization as well as strategies and techniques to mitigate these risks.

So, just as we delivered hands-on workshops in 2015 and 2016 on contingency planning, in 2017 we’ll be offering facilitated workshops to groups of providers on D&O risk management. We’ve already piloted the workshop in collaboration with the Thunder Bay DSSAB and delivered a SHARE webinar on the issue.

Contact me for more information View the training package

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Winter Safety

Going by our recent weather, there’s no doubt that winter is now fully upon us. Winter is a time of year that certain types of risk grow. Below are links to three articles with helpful tips:



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