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Managing Risky Business: Q4/2014

In this issue of Managing Risky Business, read about:

[Download this update as a PDF]


 

Feedback from the Group

“Thank you…for your sincere effort in keeping insurance costs in line as much as it is possible”

“I love the new application. It is not only informative but also really easy to complete.”

“HSC really does understand the clientele Social Housing providers support. When dealing with marginalized people it is never as black and white as some business people would hope.” – Feedback on HSC’s Additional Living Expense coverage.

2014/2015 Renewals

Back In late September, our renewal packages went out to providers. For 2014/15, premiums rates for group members remained largely unchanged from the previous year, but you did see an increase in your Property Claims Trust Fund contribution, as the size of the annual Fund was increased from $10M to $12M. This increase is due to the property claims that were made last year.

You will recall that the Claims Fund was introduced in 2011/12 as part of the overall re-design of the program. Its purpose is to control premium costs by covering smaller, more common property claims. This enables insurers to focus on less common, catastrophic claims. In 2013/14, a spike in large property claims meant that halfway through the year property claims exceeded the Claims Trust Fund.

Though providers continue to make progress on improving everyday risk management, there continues to be room for improvement. Starting in the new year, HSC will be working more closely with claims contractors to ensure that repair scope is accurate and that jobs are completed on time. We want to improve communication and minimize disruption to your tenants and your organization.

By taking a hands-on approach to the scope and timelines of property claims repairs, we hope to keep costs down, more fully realize the benefits of the Claims Trust Fund and get tenants back in their homes as soon as possible.

Program Improvements

Since our program redesign back in 2011, we’ve tried to make improvements each year to serve you better – this year we streamlined the application process to reduce the amount of data entry providers need to do. We also made significant improvements to the HSC Tenant Insurance Program so we can keep prices low but speed up the application process (more on this below).

In 2015, we’ll continue making improvements. To help control claims costs, we plan on exercising more direct oversight on claim repairs. By taking a hands-on approach to the scope and timelines of property claim repairs, we hope to keep costs down, more fully realize the benefits of the Claims Fund and get tenants back in their homes as soon as possible.

 

New Application Process Provides Sector Benchmarks

As I mentioned above, this year we simplified the application process for renewals. Instead of a traditional paper-based application, we sent out electronic applications that were pre-populated with data from the previous term. I’m pleased to report that this was a resounding success and we received many compliments on the new format!

The electronic form also allows us to collect data on some key risk management practices, which we can use as benchmarks for the future.

tenant-insurance-required monitor-tenant-insurance-graph
smoke-free-graph

It’s great to see that almost half of the providers in the program require their tenants to carry insurance. We are working with our tenant insurance partners to help you better monitor compliance and hope to have news about this in our next report.
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Tenant Insurance

marsh-team

Changes to the Program

On November 1, 2014, HSC made several administrative changes to its Tenant Insurance Program. The program is now offered as the HSC Tenant Insurance Program and delivered in partnership with Marsh Canada and XN Financial.The changes, as well as the new processes, are explained in detail on the new HSC Tenant Insurance Program website.

We’ve been very pleased with the transition to the new program structure. In November, Marsh’s Call Centre (pictured to the right) issued 238 new policies and processed 385 renewals. We expect this number to go up as providers increasingly move to implementing mandatory policies – and I’m pleased to say that we’re now well prepared to handle increases in volume thanks to these back office changes.

Our online application is expected to go live in late January and we will provide further details on this leading up to the launch to ensure your staff are well-versed in the new system.
LTB Ruling Relating to Tenant Insurance

The Landlord and Tenant Board made a recent ruling that further reinforces the landlord’s right for tenants to require and maintain insurance.

It relates to a provider that requires tenants to carry insurance and had asked a certain tenant to supply proof of insurance within a defined time frame. By the time the hearing happened the tenant had provided proof of insurance – but at the time of filing, it hadn’t been submitted. So the adjudicator upheld the landlord’s right to recoup cost of LTB filing.

Thanks to Jenn St. Louis at ONPHA for informing me about this ruling.

 

View the LTB ruling

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New Staff

We have added a new team member Kisha Reddish, Manager Insurance Services. Kisha has been in the insurance industry for 14 years so her experience and skill sets are a great addition to the team. She will be primarily responsible for the Tenant Insurance Program, reporting to me.

In addition, we recently hired Daniel Chadwick as a Claims Coordinator. Daniel comes to us with extensive claims adjusting experience from his experience at ClaimsPRO, Marsh and Crawford & Company in Waterloo. He’ll be helping us with our goal of better controlling the costs of program claims and I know you’ll enjoy working with him.
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Contingency Planning

Contingency plan guide

In my last communication, I announced that we’d developed a Contingency Plan template and Planning Guide for HSC Group Insurance participants.

Since then, we’ve made a few changes to the template based on feedback from sessions we’ve had with groups of providers to assist them in developing their own contingency plans.

Contingency plans are an integral part of every organization’s overall risk management strategy. It 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 encourage you to view these materials. HSC can deliver facilitated sessions free of charge where we work with groups of providers in filling out the contingency plan template.  For more details on this service, contact me.

View the guide and workbook

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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:

There have been also a number of followup stories on earlier incidents – including examples in Barrie and London where HSC’s Additional Living Expense coverage has supported the placement of tenants in temporary accommodations and in the costs associated with that. Another recent story regarding a fire at a property in June points toward the importance of smoke alarm testing and maintenance – both in terms of protecting the well-being of residents and avoiding liability as a provider.

Finally, there was a recent story about a fire at an unregulated group home in London that may be of interest to Service Managers. While it speaks to the need for supportive housing, it also speaks to the need to ensure risk management awareness between Service Manager business units.
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Holiday Safety

The holidays are a wonderful time to reconnect with family and friends at home. It’s also a time of year that the risk of certain types of fires grows. You can help keep the holidays safe by reminding residents of some precautions they can take to prevent the loss of property as well as injury and death. Below are links to three articles with helpful tips:

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Out & About in the Sector

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Since my last update, I’ve connected with a number of providers

  • Meetings and webinars with providers and Service Managers on changes to the tenant insurance program
  • Contingency planning and practical risk management sessions for providers in Guelph, Hamilton, Sudbury, Smith Falls, St. Thomas, Peel Region
  • “Business continuity and contingency planning for housing providers” workshop at the 2014 ONPHA conference in Ottawa
  • We participated in an ONPHA-hosted webinar with Dan Saumar of Greater Sudbury Housing Corporation, in which we shared our approaches to developing emergency management plans

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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