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Managing Risky Business: Q2 2014

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Current Policy Claims

The claims activity for the November-April winter period is primarily due to frozen pipes and fires and occasionally the combination of the two.

November 2013-April 2014


November 2012- April 2013


2012/2013 winter generated 66 property claims with a value of $8.5 million while 2013/2014 winter generated 77 property claims with a value of $11.6 million. Given the harsh and brutally cold winter it comes to no surprise to see that frozen pipes are the largest contributor of the losses compared to the same period in the previous year.

Unattended stovetop cooking continues to be one of the leading cause of fires with careless smoking close behind. On that note, you can read here about another region considering going smoke-free in their social housing. But fires aren’t always the result of what happens within a building. A claim worth $4 million for this period was for a fire in Kingston that spread to a building for seniors and resulted in the displacement of all of its tenants. The HSC insurance program is providing accommodation and meals for all tenants who did not have their own tenant insurance. To cover these costs, we’re utilizing the $400K additional living expense coverage that we introduced last year. We negotiated with insurers on behalf of providers to ensure we were able to offer this added benefit, as part of our ongoing efforts to build the strongest group insurance program we can.
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Tenant Insurance

Since the beginning of 2014 I have been travelling with ONPHA as part of their Regional Meetings across the Province. Our theme this year is the Challenges and Benefits of Tenant Insurance. Without tenant insurance, providers have no recourse or option to transfer the costs for damages in the event of a claim incurred by the negligence of a tenant. I believe that tenant insurance should be a component of every provider’s overall risk management strategy. As the number of insured tenants rises, providers can begin to examine their own deductible options with increasing flexibility — a provider with mandatory tenant insurance may be able to opt for a higher deductible and as a result reduce their premiums. Our own tenant insurance program is receiving a significant number of inquiries and applications, demonstrating the growing interest in tenant insurance.

As part of our ongoing commitment to improving the risk profile of the social housing sector, we are looking at ways to offer tenant insurance to more social housing residents across Canada.  More updates on this to follow in the months to come.

Ottawa Community Housing agreed to share their new Tenant Insurance lease wording with you:


 Insurance and Liability

OCH does not carry insurance for you and your belongings, nor does it provide coverage for any incident or peril that may occur and that may cause you to suffer damages.

a. You are required to purchase tenant insurance, including comprehensive personal liability coverage and to maintain that insurance throughout your tenancy. OCH is not  liable for any claim that is or could have been covered by your insurance. OCH may take  legal action against you if you do not maintain and/or renew your tenant insurance.

b. OCH is not responsible for any damage to your property or to the property of other occupants or guests, in your unit, or elsewhere in the building, subject only to OCH’s obligations at law.

c. OCH is not responsible if you or other persons are hurt or any damage is caused because of an act or negligence of another tenant, household member, their guests or their pets,  subject only to OCH’s obligations at law.

d. If something breaks down or repairs or renovations are being done in your unit or in the building, we are not responsible for any personal injury, illness or discomfort that anyone may suffer and OCH is not liable to you for any claim that we are disturbing your  reasonable enjoyment of the premises, including withholding or discontinuing any vital  service, so long as we try to make the repairs and do the work in a timely manner. You  agree to facilitate OCH’s repairs or renovations and acknowledge that a lack of cooperation  may lead to extended delays which are not the fault of OCH. You understand that a lack of cooperation may result in OCH taking legal action against you.

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Renewal of Group Insurance

Each year, HSC leadership and our insurance team meets with underwriters and insurance companies to educate them about our sector and our clients before they bid for our program. This process is the first step towards getting the most competitive program and rates for the HSC Group Insurance Program. Renewal meetings and negotiations with insurers are about to commence. We will review the claims experiences and losses, while highlighting the excellent work that the sector has been doing to manage risk including board approved mandatory tenant insurance and the introduction of non-smoking policies. We will continue to demonstrate to underwriters the commitment of our program participants to ongoing and proactive risk management.

We are looking for efficiencies with the group program to simplify the renewal process.  Here is the proposed calendar for this year’s renewal process:

Late May 2014 – Providers will receive renewal packages via email from our insurance Broker, Marsh Canada, with their details and portfolio information already filled out based on last year’s details.

May–July – Housing Providers to review existing information and provide updated renewal information based on pre-populated application to Marsh Canada

July-August – Marsh and HSC to review completed applications

September – Marsh and HSC to send out renewal quotations, terms and options for the 2015 program to group members
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Loss Control Inspections

Speaking of being on the road again, in January we travelled to North Bay and Kirkland Lake to meet with local providers and conduct loss control inspections with Luke Pallister from Marsh. Here is Luke about to inspect a boiler room on the roof of a District of Timiskaming apartment building in minus 39 degree weather, accompanied by Emile Boulley from the District of Timiskaming District of Social Services Administration Board.


Please contact me if you’d like us to come out to meet with your board and staff and present on risk management, or if you’d like to know more about how a loss control inspection can help you manage your risk.
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Recent Claims Affecting HSC Insurance Program Participants

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 at participant sites reported in the news:

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Enbridge Home Weatherization Program

HSC subsidiary GLOBE has been contracted by Enbridge Gas Distribution to deliver their 2014 Home Weatherization Program for single family homes in the Enbridge service area. This program is focused on making eligible homes more energy efficient, thereby reducing utility consumption and costs and improving the comfort of residents. As part of the program participating providers may also be eligible for free carbon monoxide detectors for those units that don’t currently have one; a great bonus for those thinking about risk management.
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Canadian Insurance Market Report

HSC Group Insurance Program broker, Marsh Canada, has released their Canada Insurance Market Report 2014. It describes some of the risk trends local experts have observed emerging over the past year and highlights recent developments with respect to commercial insurance rates. Click here to download the report. 
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New Learning Opportunities for Operational Staff

CIH Canada’s certified program is intended for operational staff — those currently working in a specialty housing field and who wish to progress to a management position. The first course for this stream, Managing People and Organizations, starts in early September. Applications are due August 13.

Housing professionals seeking accreditation as Certified Housing Professionals also have the option of pursuing it via CIH Canada’s Challenge Route. This allows individuals to be assessed without having to go through a course of study. Students pursuing this route can start in June.

If you’re either an operational staff member or someone who’s responsible for making training decisions for your organization, now’s a great time to look into how CIH Canada can help you. View course packs, program specifications and get an application form on the CIH accreditation programs page. You can also attend one of their Info webinars or contact them directly.
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