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Managing Risky Business: Q3/2014

In this issue of Managing Risky Business, read about:

[Download this update as a PDF]


Property and Liability Claims

Property Claims

This year, as in previous years, fire and water damage dominate the property claim picture.

The 2013/14 of winter was long and cold so we saw an increase in frozen pipe claims.

On several large claims where we feel that others were at fault we have engaged lawyers to help recover deductibles and insurance payments.

property graph

Liability Claims

Though the chart below includes a variety of different claim types, 86% of reported claims relate to slips and trips. We are pleased to report fewer claims involving contractors without contractual agreements in place. This is much improved from years past and makes the adjusting and defence of claims much easier. Brutal ice conditions of last winter contributed to an increase of slip and fall accidents.

liability graph

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Renewal of Group Insurance

Thank you for completing and returning your insurance renewal applications. Many providers took time to compliment us on the new e-applications we launched for the 2014/15 policy term. I was thrilled to receive them and must share the credit with our program’s broker, Marsh Canada, who designed the form. We are doing our best to simplify the entire renewal process.

That said; we still have not received all of the application forms. If you haven’t received an application or need help in completing it, please call me at 647.961.9062 (toll-free at 1.866.268.4451 x.314) or email me at

In July, we posted the program guideline, forms and applications for supplementary coverages for 2014/15 policy term to our website.

In terms of the broader process, we have now met with all of the incumbent insurers and a few new ones and are cautiously satisfied with the early response. We have several large property claims underway so underwriters are watching us closely. Icy conditions last winter resulted in an increased number of slip and fall claims. We all want long-term stable insurance rates and HSC is working hard on your behalf to achieve this.

Next Steps:

August/early September – Marsh and HSC to finish reviewing 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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Additional Living Expenses for Tenants: A Unique Feature of HSC’s Group Insurance Program

HSC provides insurance that addresses the distinctive risks associated with our sector and is aligned with HSC’s mission to support resident quality of life. I can think of no better illustration than the Tenant Additional Living Expense coverage contained in your property policy ($10,000 per unit and a per claim limit of $1M).

In 2013 this unique coverage helped house and feed many desperate tenants throughout Ontario who were suddenly evacuated from their homes after insured events. Until the phase-in of compulsory tenant insurance programs is complete, providers will continue to rely on this coverage to aid clients evacuated to the street because of fires and floods.

In his last update, HSC CEO Howie Wong included a video of a tenant speaking about the experience of being evacuated and displaced from his home following a large fire. If you have not watched it, here it is again:

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Recent Events Involving Tenants

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:

On August 26, there was an update relating to the fire in Kingston back in December that resulted in significant property damage to Royal Canadian Legion Villa and displaced tenants for five months. The Ministry of Labour has laid charges against the companies and individuals who are associated with the construction site from which the fire started. This is a significant development for our clients. We will be tracking developments relating to this closely.

I was pleased to read that the District of Timiskaming Social Services Administration Board is banning smoking in social housing developments across the district. For resources on making your buildings smoke-free as well as to see which providers have implemented policies, you can visit Smoke-Free Housing Ontario’s website at target=”_blank”

In addition, there was a nice story about the efforts York Region is making in working with local community agencies in addressing hoarding in senior’s housing.

Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO), also recently released a report regarding the costs of extreme weather as a result of climate change. In it, he discusses the impacts to property insurance and municipalities. The report makes several recommendations and cites some best practices that some municipalities are undertaking. For more information, visit the ECO’s blog.

Finally, there was a recent story recently in the London Free Press that illustrated why tenant insurance is important for residents, housing providers and Service Managers. The building in the story is not part of the HSC Group, however, it’s a scenario all too familiar to us: a fire results in the displacement of tenants and while community and the city do their best to offer some support by way of temporary accommodation and donations, tenants face an uncertain future after the support comes to its conclusion. With HSC’s Additional Living Expenses coverage and mandatory tenant insurance, however, tenants are better protected from this uncertainty. And providers and Service Managers don’t need to scamble to find temporary accommodations and donations for displaced tenants.

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Webinar on Upcoming Changes to Tenant Insurance

Our sector’s response to the idea of implementing compulsory tenant insurance has been truly remarkable. In greater and greater numbers tenants now enjoy the same insurance protection as the general population. We are witnessing providers and the insurers recovering the cost of damage caused by cooking fires and overflowing sinks.

To help better administer the increase in applications in the SoHo/HSC Tenant Insurance Program we have sourced a new insurer and call centre and will be introducing some important administrative improvements in November. The program will also be rebranded as the HSC Tenant Insurance Program.

These changes will affect housing providers that refer residents to our program, those that have made tenant insurance mandatory (or are considering it) as well as residents that are seeking to obtain new insurance policies and those who are renewing existing policies. So HSC will be holding a webinar on Thursday September 25 from 10am to 11am to discuss these changes. We will cover:

  • Key changes to the program and the timing on the changes
  • How the changes affect providers and residents
  • What HSC is doing with its partners to support these changes

This webinar is critical to attend if you:

  • Are responsible for the administration of risk management practices and policies in your organization
  • Work with OW/OSDP case workers to get residents insured
  • Handle resident inquiries regarding tenant insurance or are responsible for ensuring resident compliance with your organization’s mandatory tenant insurance policy
Register for the Tenant Insurance webinar

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New Resources to Support Contingency Planning

With all the media reports of fire and floods affecting our communities even the most easy-going among us would probably agree that it’s important to devote some time to planning for emergencies. Contingency plans are an integral part of every organization’s overall risk management strategy.

An emergency plan does not have to be complex; in many cases a simple plan is sufficient. A basic but well-designed plan will help your staff better manage vital tasks in difficult times, accelerate and organize your response, reduce damage and create a more resilient social housing community.

I’m pleased to announce that we’ve worked with Marsh Canada to develop a Contingency Plan template and Planning Guide for HSC Group Insurance participants. Our goal is to provide a document that will help you to develop your own plan reflecting your unique community and local resources to enable you to respond to incidents with the best interests of your tenants as top of mind.


View HSC’s Contingency Planning Resources

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Training & Education

In fall 2014, HSC will once again offer a range of practical, hands-on courses. Instead of offering scheduled sessions, however, we will deliver ‘custom-delivery training’ right at your doorstep. We work with you to deliver sessions based on your team’s schedule at your offices or the location of your choosing. Risk management-related courses available include:

  • Mould Awareness and Prevention
  • Asbestos Removal: A Crucial How To
  • Preventive Maintenance
View a full list and description of our courses

Interested in bringing HSC training to your staff? Contact to find out more!

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HSC Strategic Planning

In his last update, HSC CEO Howie Wong mentioned that we’re in the process of embarking on a strategic planning exercise with our board to map out HSC’s business direction for the next three years.

Your input is vitally important in terms of how you’d like us to evolve our services, such as those in insurance and risk management. I’d like to further encourage you to fill out a short questionnaire to give voice to your opinions on how HSC can best support the sector.

Fill out the HSC Strategic Planning Questionnaire

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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