Skip to content

Managing Risky Business: Q3 2022

Managing Risky Business: Q3 2022

In this issue of Managing Risky Business, read about:

The Claims Picture Since Renewals

Since our last update, our group’s claims performance has become significantly more challenging. Claims costs and frequency have gone up dramatically compared to recent years past.  In the nine months since the start of the term, our program saw a total of 152 claims with an estimated cost of approximately $21.2M. Typically the program averages between 150 to 160 claims over the course of the year; we expect to exceed this range in 2021-22. Claims this term have also been higher cost generally, with three claims that have exceeded $1M. 

Chart showing year-by-year comparison of claims costs over the past 5 years. Current year has higher claims costs on average since the start of the term to August 2022.

Fire claims continue to be the most expensive for our program and represent 75% of our payouts. Here again, careless smoking continues to lead the way. In recent years, these preventable incidents represent the bulk of our catastrophic losses – claims where buildings are rendered uninhabitable and often need to be rebuilt from the ground up.

However, fire claims only represent 41% of the total. This year 36% are water claims, with burst pipe claims leading the way. The graphs below show the distribution, coloured based on the type of claim fire (pink), water (blue), weather (green) and other (burgundy).

Should you have a property claim and need help, please view our checklist on the immediate steps to take and visit our webpage about submitting a claim for the steps on how to proceed and important telephone numbers.

Progress on 2022-23 Renewals

The key dates for the renewal of your insurance are:

At this point, you should have returned your renewal application. You may have also attended our webinar in June, Making the Most of Your Insurance Renewal, in which we focused on the coverages that might be necessary for your organization depending on the nature of your business. Earlier in August, we held another webinar that provided an update on the renewal and offered insight into improving your risk profile (details below).

In the meantime, HSC has been working behind the scenes on the group renewal. In June and July, we met with insurers in both the UK and North America. We are now in negotiations with the many insurers who will underwrite our program, discussing coverages; how much risk they’d like to take on; and the fair market premium for it. This is a lengthy process. For more information on how this piece works, check out the story from our January newsletter on how we underwrite our program.

Should you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us!

Why Do Accurate Building Valuations Matter?

All buildings change in value over time. However, values can rise dramatically for a variety of reasons – capital repairs, renovations, new equipment or other, more unique circumstances.

It is important for you to ensure your building valuations are correct because they determine the coverage you receive should you have a major claim or total loss. If your building is undervalued, you could find yourself in a situation where you need to make up the difference in repairs or restoration work since insurance only covers what you’ve declared. Conversely, if your building is overvalued, you could be paying too much for insurance.

Because building values in Ontario generally rise, HSC automatically increases building values by a small percentage each year. However, this may not be enough (or too much).

To ensure that you’re appropriately covered, building valuations are necessary. Historically, these valuations have been determined by a formal, on-site appraisal. However today you can get what is called a ‘desktop valuation.’ These valuations do not involve an on-site visit but instead use other methodologies and information sources; they are also accepted by underwriters. Because they do not involve a physical examination and a tailored report, using instead other data points, they are considerably less expensive. However, they are equally valid for insurance purposes.

HSC offers building valuation services in partnership with Marsh Risk Consulting. At just $500/building, the valuation comes at a fraction of the cost of a traditional one. The process is simple and usually takes about three weeks to complete.

August Webinar on Improving Your Risk Profile

Improving Your Risk Profile with HSC’s New Risk Rating Tool and Claims Management Best Practices

On August 9, 2022 HSC hosted an exclusive webinar for our insurance clients on the upcoming renewal and best practices for managing claims. The claims portion of the webinar was delivered in partnership with DKI Canada, one of HSC’s partners for emergency restorations relating to water, fire, and wind damage. 

The webinar covered a variety of topics, including:

  • HSC’s new risk rating matrix
  • Your upcoming insurance renewal
  • Common insurance challenges with multi-unit residential dwellings
  • Best practices to help claims move smoothly
  • Proactive steps to avoid common pitfalls

Safe Summer Fun

School’s out and summer is well underway! What better way to enjoy both, and to create a sense of community than by having community barbeques, fun fairs or movie nights? However, these types of events can be risky. If anything goes wrong, your organization can be liable – whether you are the host or not.

Here are some tips and coverages to help you protect residents and ensure everyone has a good time.

Hosts should have Common Room Insurance: Your first step for having events on your property is to require event hosts to get common room insurance in advance. This type of insurance protects resident or third-party hosts (and providers) from liability during one-off special events. HSC’s Common Room Insurance covers events on your property that are both indoors and out, such as:

  • Common room events serving alcohol or not
  • Bingo, bridge or movie nights
  • Family celebrations or receptions
  • Community dinners, craft shows or bazaars
  • Meetings, workshops or classes (no alcohol served)
  • Outdoor barbeques and picnics (no alcohol served)
  • Religious services and ceremonies  

Rates start at just $32/event.

Ensure play areas are safe: If your event includes amusements for kids, you’ll want to ensure that there’s uninterrupted adult supervision and any play structures or areas are safe.

Marsh Canada has a tip sheet on inflatable play structures (bouncy castles). It outlines key considerations on insurance and legal requirements; rental company selection; site selection and set-up. The sheet also includes advice on how to properly supervise these structures.

The Canadian Playground Safety Institute (CPSI) offers an extensive range of resources, including inspection checklists, information on safety standards, a directory for certified inspectors and links to helpful articles.

Practice barbeque (BBQ) safety: The BBQ should be properly placed so that it is at a distance from the main premises or any other obstructions – to avoid the accidental spread of fire – and firmly secured to the ground so it cannot move during cooking. As is the case with stovetop cooking, BBQs should never be left unattended and should be turned off when cooking is complete. To prevent flare ups and fires, tenants should avoid grilling too much food at once and not start a gas BBQ with the lid closed.

Finally BBQs, particularly those that are maintained by the housing provider, should be regularly inspected; gas lines should be checked for leaks and grill and grease trays should be kept clean. To support BBQ safety, providers may consider posting signage or including items in their tenant newsletters relating to proper use of BBQs.

Online Location for HSC Tenant Insurance Info Has Changed

To make things simpler, HSC now has all of its insurance content under one roof. We have retired our standalone tenant insurance website and have updated and migrated the program information material to the HSC main website.

The old web link still works but redirects visitors to the new location of the material. Providers interested in ordering print brochures/posters or having PDF versions, can visit this page:

Should you be asking tenants to get insurance, we strongly encourage you to have them apply online. Applying online is faster and enables tenants to get their certificate more quickly, which is helpful if they are under a tight timeline to show your staff their proof of insurance.  

Claims in the News:


Emergency on Chapple Ave. sends residents to the streets, Sault Ste. Marie
Cause: Arson


Fire in Petrolia, Ont. displaces residents
Cause: Appliance malfunction

Fire causes more than $100K damage to southeast London townhouse
Cause: Appliance malfunction

East Street fire causes minor damage, Sault Ste. Marie
Cause: Unknown


Tenants at Swansea Mews forced to relocate after issue posing ‘immediate danger’ discovered, Toronto
Cause: Corrosion/Deterioration

No Injuries Resulting from Fire at 30 9th Ave., Englehart
Cause: Electrical

Firefighters respond to three fires in the Ottawa area (Ledbury)
Cause: Unknown

Paterson Court Fire Knocked Down – No Injuries, Thunder Bay
Cause: Unknown

‘Like something out of a movie’: No one injured in blaze at city-owned west Mountain townhouse, Hamilton
Cause: Arson


Strathroy family displaced after house fire
Cause: Unknown

Careless cooking blamed for Curry Avenue fire, Windsor
Cause: Kitchen/cooking

Fire at Hamilton Mountain seniors’ building destroys 10th floor unit
Cause: Careless smoking

One person taken to hospital and cat rescued after apartment fire in London
Cause: Unknown

Fire heavily damages Windsor Street residence, Thunder Bay
Cause: Unknown

No injuries in Heatherington high-rise fire, Ottawa
Cause: Unknown

Fire results in evacuations in Bancroft
Cause: Unknown


Fire at Dundas Street apartment building deemed suspicious: London police
Cause: Arson

‘Amazing’ teamwork sees family of seven, trapped inside a Mountain townhome, rescued from massive blaze, Hamilton
Cause: Careless smoking

Fire, Montevideo Rd/Battleford Rd in #Mississauga
Cause: Electrical

Office of the Fire Marshal investigating after a house fire in Chatham
Cause: Arson

Fire in Brampton leads to residents being evacuated
Cause: Appliance malfunction


Kitchen fire damages home in Overbrook, Ottawa
Cause: Appliance malfunction

Fire at Oakville duplex sends several firefighters, Halton Region paramedics to scene
Cause: Appliance malfunction

Fire quelled in downtown highrise apartment, Ottawa
Cause: Arson

Ottawa Fire have a Working Fire on Somero PVT off Tapiola CR in Greensboro
Cause: Kitchen/Cooking


Use alternative routes to avoid Brampton fire
Cause: Careless smoking

Road closed due to townhouse fire in Mississauga
Cause: Careless smoking

One rescued from high rise blaze, Sault Ste Marie
Cause: Kitchen/Cooking

Stay up-to-date on energy and insurance news, events, or updates from our CEO.

Join Our Mailing List!