The British Columbia government has unveiled regulatory changes it hopes will help bring transparency to the province’s strata insurance market.
Strata homeowners have been hit by massive increases in insurance costs in the province over the last year.
An interim report in June from the B.C. Financial Services Agency, which regulates credit unions, insurance and trust companies, pensions and mortgage brokers, found that strata insurance premiums had risen by 40 per cent on average, provincewide, while year-over-year hikes in deductibles had increased by triple digits.
A petition calling for government action to deal with the skyrocketing prices has attracted close to 15,000 signatures.
Starting Nov. 1, insurers or their agents will need to give strata corporations 30-days notice of an intention to renew or materially change a policy.
“This change ensures strata corporations have advanced warning of cost increases and has time to seek other insurance options if desired,” said the Ministry of Finance in a media release.
Insurance agents will now also be required to disclose their commissions, with penalties of up to $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for companies that fail to do so.
The ministry is also banning referral fees to strata property managers from insurance deals.
The B.C. Financial Services Agency estimates there are nine or 10 companies providing strata insurance in B.C., which are mainly headquartered outside of Canada.
The regulator’s final report into the market is expected some time this fall.