Warning of collapse in B.C. condo market

The excerpted article was written by Ross McLaughlin, CTV News Vancouver

VANCOUVER — There are dire warnings that the condo real estate market in B.C. could collapse unless the province steps in to stop it.

It all has to do with skyrocketing insurance rates. And some condo buildings are unable to get insurance at all, putting owners at risk of losing their financing and being unable to sell their properties.

Zafar Khan had an offer on a Cloverdale condo he was selling, and the deal was to close Feb. 3. But at the last minute it all fell apart, as the buyer pulled out of the sale.

“I found out the strata ran out of insurance,” said Khan.

He said he had no idea, and only learned about it later from the buyer’s real estate agent, Sevin Atilla.

“We found out the strata’s insurance came up for renewal and they were not able to renew it,” said Atilla, who works at Oakwynn Realty.

“I don’t blame the buyer at all,” Khan said.

Banks won’t finance uninsured buildings and that’s what happened with the loan the buyer had secured.

“As soon as they found out there was no insurance in place, they retracted the mortgage approval,” explained Atilla.

CTV News reached out to the property manager, Crossroads Management Ltd. The company said it tried five different insurance brokers, all of which were unable to find an insurance company to insure the complex.

Crossroads said it’s still looking.

Owners are now at risk if disaster strikes; their banks could pull their financing and they will be unable to sell their properties.

“This affected our deal and we will see more of these deals collapsing in the future,” said Atilla.

“This is something no one had foreseen,” said Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium and Homeowners Association of B.C.

Gioventu knew skyrocketing insurance rates and high deductibles were coming as insurance companies pulled out of B.C.’s high real estate market and struggled to keep up with claims from global disasters, but buildings unable to get insurance at all is something that no one expected.

“This will collapse our real estate industry because no one will be able to get mortgages and there will be no buyers and no sellers,” Gioventu said.

Gioventu knows of a handful of buildlings currently unable to get insurance, and said there could be more out there.

And massive insurance premiums are adding to the pressure.

The strata president of one Burnaby condo told CTV News their annual insurance premium has quadrupled, from $200,000 a year to $810,000, and they can no longer afford to pay it.

High premiums coupled with extremely high deductibles are also resulting in massive increases in maintenance fees or special assessments.

“This is not a small number of buildings now. We’re now looking at several hundred buildings throughout the Lower Mainland that are seeing such dramatic increases,” said Gioventu.

Doug Whicker, a strata president of a New Westminster condo complex facing a 40 per cent insurance premium increase, has sent a letter to Premier John Horgan asking for intervention. He says it’s reached a crisis and suggests that B.C. set up a non-profit strata insurance corporation similar to ICBC.

“Immediately. We can’t wait,” said Whicker.

“Government intervention is necessary and it’s imperative,” added Khan.

CTV News reached out to B.C. Finance Minister Carole James, who has acknowledged the problem.

“We think there are good opportunities to be able to talk with the industry, to talk with condos, to talk with insurance companies, and look at how we can address this issue,” she said.

Robert de Pruis with the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s western office told CTV News the IBC has been in contact with insurance brokers, underwriters and condo groups and is planning to hold regional meetings across the country to address the condo insurance issues — including one in B.C. in March — to try to find creative solutions to address the problem.

If you’re a condo owner reading this and are worried about how to protect your investment, there’s little you can do except to try to find insurance to cover high deductibles. But without a master condominium insurance policy, you’re out of luck.

The buildings that are being hardest hit are those that are the most expensive: buildings with a high number of recent claims and strata corporations that have failed to keep up with maintenance and repairs.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says it’s a complex issue that won’t be solved quickly.

However, for Khan and others in his situation without insurance it’s an emergency.

“If my lender finds out they’ll pull the mortgage,” he said.

Westhill Hires Daniel Loosemore to Lead Expansion Into Canada

ATLANTA–(Business Wire)–Westhill is building a marketplace for property & casualty restoration and mitigation insurance claims. After making great strides in the US market, Westhill is now expanding their team in pursuit of growth into the Canadian market. The ecosystem that Westhill is building enables insurance companies to successfully alleviate friction in the claims process, by using cutting-edge technology to enhance the claim experience. Creators of the cloud-based platform are pleased to announce the appointment of Daniel Loosemore as their President of Canadian Operations.

“I’m excited to infuse the Canadian market with collaboration and transparency that no one else can offer in the insurance market today.”

“Dan brings a wealth of knowledge and market intelligence that is invaluable to us. He has an incredible network and proven ability to solve problems for insurance carriers,” said George Jones, CEO of Westhill. “He is the perfect candidate to lead Westhill’s growth in Canada and continue building our robust network of carriers and contractors. Our team is delighted to have him join us.”

Loosemore has always been connected to construction and insurance, bringing 20+ years of experience in property restoration. In his last role at Crawford Contractor Connection, Dan was responsible for taking an established managed repair network model in the US and scaling into Canada. During his transition from District Manager to Vice President of National Sales and Operations, Loosemore effectively grew and scaled his team from one (1) employee to fifty three (53) nationally, to service the customer base in both official languages (English and French). He then took this valuable experience into consulting and has been working with businesses to execute on strategic imperatives like growth, margin efficiencies, performance management and brand experience.

In addition to his achievements in the managed repair space, Loosemore exited Woodhouse Contracting, and stayed on throughout the earn-out to help the business continue to scale, rebrand and become one of the largest contractor brands in the country. Dan is a proven strategist who leads with passion in all his endeavors. Often touted as a leader who is highly inclusive and collaborative, his professionalism and values align well with the core values of Westhill.

“Westhill brings a progressive technology approach to a market which has historically been well behind the customer needs and consumer expectations,” expressed Dan. “I’m excited to infuse the Canadian market with collaboration and transparency that no one else can offer in the insurance market today.”

Westhill has been recognized in the US as an industry thought leader in Insurtech. Building upon the local successes in 2019, Westhill is now focused on embedding local talent and regional expertise in Canada to better serve their partners.

About Westhill

Westhill Inc. provides digital solutions for the property & casualty (P&C) insurance industry, focused on delivering an exceptional claim experience. Westhill leverages smart technology to connect insurance carriers, contractors and policyholders, providing customer choice and removing inefficiencies from the claims process. Advocates in the power of connection, Westhill believes all successful experiences need a foundation grounded in transparency and shared value, principles that are woven throughout each facet of Westhill’s business model.

Website: www.westhillglobal.com

View the experience: Westhill Video

Source: Business Wire

Western Financial Group continues expansion into Ontario

Orr & Associates latest brokerage acquired by Western as they continue their strategic growth

HIGH RIVER, ABFeb. 4, 2020 /CNW/ – Western Financial Group (Western) is pleased to share news of their acquisition of Orr & Associates.

Effective January 31, 2020, Orr & Associates and their two retail locations in southern Ontario are now part of the Western family. This latest acquisition continues Western’s strategic expansion into Ontario, growing the total number of offices to 11 in the region and continuing to position Western on a path of growth and expansion across Canada.

Established in 1912, Orr & Associates is dedicated to personal, commercial, and life insurance. Like Western, they work with insurance partners across Canada to provide custom-fit insurance coverage for their customers. With two branch locations and a strong online presence, Orr & Associates diligently services more than 5,000 customers to ensure they have the right coverage for their specific insurance needs.

“It is an exciting day to have Orr & Associates join our growing team,” says Kenny Nicholls, President & CEO of Western. “Orr & Associates have established themselves as an innovative leader in their area of expertise. We are happy to have them on-board with us helping Western to continue to expand our scope in the Canadian insurance market.”

Orr & Associates and Western share important values and a strong focus on customer service, putting customers and people first. With a history of volunteerism and community sponsorships, Orr & Associates understands that strong connections to community and customer service excellence are the foundation of success.

“As the insurance experts who create security and provide the right protection for all Canadians, Western is committed to expanding its physical presence across Canada and ensuring that Canadians get the best advice for their insurance needs,” says Kenny. “Adding Orr & Associates to our team enriches our commitment to this.”

“Joining Western is the right fit for us as a group,” says Ken Orr, Owner of Orr & Associates. “We share common values and business interests and becoming part of the Western family will be beneficial for our people. We are looking forward to this new era for Orr & Associates.”

“We are excited to work with Western to elevate our organization and people and to help support Western’s mission and vision,” says Keith Wilson, Owner of Orr & Associates. “Partnering with Western is a win-win and we are pleased to be part of the growing team.”

Orr & Associates

Orr & Associates is an independent broker network offering personal, commercial, and life insurance to customers in southern Ontario. Originally founded in 1912, the agency grew and evolved until its acquisition by Gordon Orr in 1984. Ken Orr purchased the agency from his father in 1992 and brought in business partner Keith Wilson in 2007. The agency has two branch locations and 16 team members serving King City and Schomberg, just north of Toronto.

Western Financial Group Inc.

Western is a diversified insurance services company that has been caring for the insurance needs of over one million Canadians for more than 100 years. Headquartered in High River, Alberta, today, Western provides personal, business and life insurance services through more than 180 locations, affiliates, and online, with a skilled and growing team, providing the right protection for all Canadians.

Western is a subsidiary of Trimont Financial Ltd., a subsidiary of The Wawanesa Mutual Insurance Company.

SOURCE Western Financial Group

Related Links

http://www.westernfinancialgroup.ca

Aon, announced the acquisition of Cytelligence Inc, a Canadian-based cyber security firm

The acquisition combines Aon’s industry-leading investment in cyber security with Cytelligence’s unique technical expertise in incident response and digital forensics services to strengthen Aon’s cyber security client value proposition 

CHICAGOFeb. 4, 2020 /CNW/ — Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions, announced today the acquisition of Cytelligence Inc, a Canadian-based cyber security firm that provides incident response advisory, digital forensic expertise, security consulting services and cyber security training for employees to help organizations respond to cyber security threats and strengthen their security position.

The acquisition will help Aon expand its current coverages within the cyber market at a time when cyber claims are almost doubling year-over-year. The 2019 Cybersecurity Almanac published by Cisco and Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that cyber events will cost $6 trillion annually by 2021, as companies are digitizing most of their processes and are often operating remotely. Global cyber insurance premiums are expected to grow from $4 billion in 2018 to $20 billion by 2025. According to Aon’s 2019 Global Risk Management Survey, cyber-attacks were identified as a top ten risk facing organizations and is predicted to be one of the top three risks for organizations in 2022.

“As the number of network intrusions, data breaches, ransomware attacks, and similar threats continues to increase in both frequency and severity, expertise in cyber incident response becomes critical to organizations and insurance companies,” said J Hogg, CEO of Aon’s Cyber Solutions. “The Cytelligence team are deep experts in cyber incident response, ransomware mitigation, and cyber security training for employees, which will help cement our position in both North America and globally as an industry leader.”

Cytelligence will join the growing portfolio of Aon’s Cyber Solutions, which combines digital risk management services, security services, professional risk solutions, and a global risk consulting practice. This acquisition enhances Aon’s 2016 acquisition of Stroz Friedberg and now allows Aon’s Cyber Solutions to offer an even more holistic portfolio of services to clients from proactive security services, to incident response, to risk quantification and insurance broking.

“Together, we will deliver complete proactive solutions from risk assessment, cyber risk policy underwriting to secure insurance coverage to protect critical assets, to cyber breach response, effective and efficient cyber incident remediation, meticulous data collection and data preservation,” said Daniel Tobok, CEO of Cytelligence. “Put simply, everything that is connected to the internet can be compromised. proactive companies and their Boards are preparing now with proactive actions with penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, security audits, and training of their employees.”

Cytelligence has offices in TorontoOttawaNew YorkSan Francisco and Miami. The firm employs professionals in cyber security and education, investigations, and forensic analytics. The firm was founded in June 2016.

Mr. Tobok will join Aon as the Canadian President, Aon’s Cyber Solutions.

About Aon
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.

About Cytelligence
Cytelligence is a leading international cyber security boutique with deep expertise in Cyber Breach Response, Cyber Breach Investigations, and Digital Forensics. We are known for our technique: well planned, well executed and detailed-oriented engagements. Our Offensive Security Consulting includes: Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Security Audits, and Secure Development Lifecycle Management, including code reviews.

SOURCE Aon plc

Bureaucratic hurdles hampered federal flood prevention program: audit

By Jim Bronskill

THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA _ The federal government had trouble spending half of the $184 million earmarked over the last few years to prevent flood damage in Canadian communities, an internal evaluation has found.

The National Disaster Mitigation Program’s effectiveness was hindered by scheduling issues that led to delays, the lack of an agreement with Quebec and additional hurdles for First Nations, says the newly released evaluation report.

According to government data, 108 of the 170 major disasters between 2008 and 2018 were floods, causing billions of dollars in damage.

Eighty per cent of Canadian cities are built on flood plains, the report notes.  “With climate change, recovery costs for flood disasters will continue to increase.”

The mitigation program, created in 2015, funded 363 projects in 117 communities mainly flood mapping and structural improvements to lessen the effects of rising waters. About $95 million went to these projects, but another $89 million in earmarked funding was not allocated.

“Administrative requirements and time limits for structural projects were seen as barriers,” the report says.

There was little uptake of the program in the first two years, as timing of the launch did not align with provincial budget cycles, meaning provinces could not provide the needed matching funds.

In addition, provinces and territories had expected a program to address a wider range of hazards, and therefore may have had to modify projects to match the program’s tight focus on flood mitigation. That focus was considered important given the interplay between disasters.

“When there are forest fires, we know that we’re going to get more floods in coming years,” said one person interviewed by the evaluation team.

Since applications had to be made through provincial or territorial governments, First Nation communities “faced additional barriers,” given the federal responsibility for on-reserve communities.

Other problems included “complex and burdensome” administration of the funding program, long forms to complete, and significant staffing turnover in the regions and at Public Safety Canada headquarters during the early stages.

The program managers accepted the evaluation’s recommendations and committed to making changes.

Five years ago, Canada was the only G7 country with no residential insurance coverage for overland flooding, as existing flood maps were outdated, the report notes. The disaster mitigation program was set up, in part, to undertake the necessary assessments and mapping, and the insurance industry has begun to use newly created maps.

“However, at present, affordable overland flood insurance is not available to all affected communities across Canada,” the report says.

Governments, homeowners, the private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations all have roles to play in reducing the burden on governments related to disaster recovery, the reviewers say.

They advocate steps such as:

_ preventing land development in flood-prone areas through reliance on the program’s risk assessments and mapping;

_ flood-proofing properties with appropriate window wells, downspouts and sump pumps.

Alberta General Level 1 GLQP

Alberta General Level 1 GLQP

As of January 01, 2020, all students must study current educational materials from an approved General Level 1 Educator in order to be certified as having met the prerequisites to write the Alberta General Insurance Level 1 Licensing Exam.  You can no longer challenge the Alberta General Level 1 Licensing Exam.

This new certification format is known as the Level 1 General Licensing Qualification Program (GLQP).

Why implement the General Licensing Qualification Program?

The intention of candidate certification in order to register and write the licensing exam is to ensure the competency of new entrants into the General Insurance field. Low pass-rates have been an ongoing subject of concern with educators and industry stakeholders.  A change in program approach is now being delivered to ensure consistent education delivery and to improve student success rates.

How do I prepare for the Alberta General Insurance Level 1 Licensing Exam and become certified with ILScorp?

The first step to starting your new career as an insurance professional in Alberta is to obtain a CIPR number. What is CIPR? CIPR is short for Canadian Insurance Participant Registry.

Once you register with CIPR online, you’ll receive a unique identifier called your CIPR # which can be used to identify you.  ILScorp needs your CIPR number in order to eventually certify you to write the Alberta Licensing Exam.

Get your CIPR number here: https://www.cipr.ca

Now you’re ready to enroll in the ILS Alberta Level 1 General Insurance Licensing

ILS Alberta Level 1 General Insurance Exam Preparation Program.

The ILScorp L1 Program has everything you need in one package to successfully pass your Alberta Level 1 General Insurance licensing exam, including your certification exam.

How the Alberta L1 Program Works and What’s Included

  • L1 General Insurance Licensing online course – 12 Chapters
  • L1 Textbook hardcopy – 12 Chapters
  • L1 Workbook hardcopy – over 650 quiz questions
  • L1 Workbook Answer Key
  • L1 Flashcards– over 300 exam type mobile questions
  • Alberta Auto Essentials online course
  • An Insurance Professional’s Regulatory Responsibilities online course – AIC council rules and code of conduct
  • Alberta online supplement – specific to Alberta insurance requirements
  • Accident and Sickness Review Course
  • Review Tests – 17 review tests including multiple choice answer options
  • L1 Alberta General & Adjuster Insurance Licensing Practice Exams
  • ILS Level 1 Certification Exam

 

More info on exam prep program

The program is broken down into 8 Modules.

When you first log in to your e-learning campus you will be presented with the Alberta Level 1 Terms and Conditions. If you agree with the terms and conditions you will then have access to the very first Module of the program, Module 1: Concepts and Characteristics of Insurance.

Each Module is broken into chapters with the end of chapter quizzes. At the end of each Module is a  Module final exam.

Once you successfully complete all review quizzes and pass the final Module Exam you will get access to Module Two. This pattern continues for each Module and once all 8 Modules are successfully completed you will have access to the online certification exam. Once you pass your certification exam, ILScorp will receive a notification that you have completed all course material and qualify to become certified.

ILScorp will then mark you as certified in the CIPR system. This is why you need a CIPR number, without it we cannot mark you as certified. As soon as ILScorp marks you as certified, you can immediately register for the licensing examination with the Alberta Insurance Council.

You will then be certified for 1 full year. If you do not write the Alberta Licensing Exam within the year, you will be required to purchase course material again and go through the certification process again.

If you do not complete all ILScorp course material and pass the ILScorp certification exam you will not be marked as certified and will not qualify to register for the Alberta Licensing Exam.

What if I do not have Certified status and I try to register for the Licensing Exam?

Students will not be able to register for a General Licensing Level 1 examination if they have not been certified by an approved educator.

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