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1 a strata lot owner to recover the insurance deductible even though the owner is not negligent and has merely caused or brought about the events that resulted in the damage. Owner s responsibility for own damage A second decision regarding insurance deductibles and reimbursement to a strata corporation provides further guidance on an owner s responsibility to re-pay the strata corporation for the cost of repairs. Both cases highlight the importance for an owner of obtaining appropriate and adequate insurance. In Strata Plan KAS 1019 v. Keiran, Simkus and Wawanesa, the strata corporation sued the owners of a strata lot in Small Claims Court for the cost of repairs to their strata lot that were required after a water pipe burst. The burst pipe was behind a bedroom wall and burst as a result of high acid levels in the local water and not as a result of any negligent act or omission of the owners. The damage that occurred was restricted to inside the owners strata lot. No common property was damaged. The strata corporation repaired the damage at a cost of $3, At the time, the deductible for the insurance maintained by the strata corporation was $10,000. Because the damage was below the amount of the deductible, the strata corporation did not make a claim on its insurance. The strata corporation requested that the owners reimburse the strata corporation for the $3, that it paid to repair the owners strata lot. The owners insurance company (Wawanesa) paid $2,500 to the strata corporation. Wawanesa refused to pay any additional funds based on the wording of the policy in place between Wawanesa and the owners. The strata corporation sued the owners for the remaining $1, The owners claimed against Wawanesa. In reaching her decision, the provincial judge considered two issues, namely the obligation of the owners to repair their strata lot and the wording of the insurance policy that the owners had with Wawanesa. The Mari decision clarifies that a strata corporation may sue a strata lot owner to recover the insurance deductible even though the owner is not negligent. Owner s obligations to repair The judge noted that, under the bylaws, owners are responsible to carry out repairs and maintenance to their strata lot. The strata corporation s responsibility is to repair and maintain common property. The judge also noted that neither the pipe nor the area that was damaged was within the strata corporation s responsibility to repair and maintain. The judge concluded that because the damage occurred within the strata lot and not to common property, the obligation to carry out and pay for the repair was the responsibility of the owners. The judge stated that although the strata corporation had a duty to obtain insurance, it did not have a legal obligation to pay for the repairs to the strata lot. In this case, because the strata corporation had carried out the repair, it was entitled to recover the full amount that it had paid to repair the strata lot. BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 PAGE 11

2 PAGE 12 BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 Insurance policy The next issue for the judge was whether the owners could recover the amount that must be paid to the strata corporation from their insurer, Wawanesa. The judge concluded that Wawanesa must pay to the owners the amount claimed by the strata corporation, minus the deductible of $500. The judge reached her decision based on the wording of the insurance policy. The decision was upheld on appeal to the B.C. Supreme Court. As individual policies vary, it is not necessarily helpful to review the precise wording of Wawanesa s policy. Rather, the real significance of the decision is that it highlights the need for every owner to closely review the language in their policy to be sure that they are appropriately and adequately insured. Appropriate and adequate insurance coverage To determine whether their insurance policies are appropriate, owners (and their insurance brokers) should determine how a particular policy would respond to the following situations: The unit owner turns on her dishwasher and walks out of the kitchen. The pump or hose underneath the dishwasher breaks. As she sits in the living room reading the newspaper, she notices that her feet are getting wet and then discovers the water coming from the kitchen. Scenario 1: The damage is confined to only the owner s strata lot, but there is damage to the flooring, carpeting, parts of the drywall and portions of the kitchen cupboards. The strata corporation has a deductible of $25,000. The strata corporation contacts the restoration company and arranges for the clean-up and repairs. The strata corporation then advises the owner that the cost is $22,000. The strata corporation is entitled to recover these funds from her based on the Keiran decision. Does the insurance policy cover the $22,000? Scenario 2: The damage from the dishwasher is not confined to the strata lot and the water damages common property and other strata lots. The cost to repair is $35,000, the insurance deductible is $25,000. Although the owner was not negligent, the strata corporation has advised her that she must reimburse the strata corporation for the $25,000 deductible. If there are no bylaws that limit the strata corporation s ability to recover, the strata corporation is entitled to collect the $25,000 from her based on the Mari decision. Does the in-

3 surance policy cover the $25,000? To determine whether the amount of their insurance is adequate, owners should know the amount of the deductible on the strata corporation s policy. Because owners may be obligated to pay the deductible on the strata corporation s policy, owners may wish to obtain insurance, to the extent that it is available, to pay the deductible if necessary. The significance of having appropriate and adequate insurance cannot be overstated. Many owners believe that they will only be required to pay the strata corporation s insurance deductible if they are negligent or do something foolish. However, based on the Mari and Keiran cases, the every-day and innocent acts of turning on a dishwasher or a washing machine can expose owners to costs in the tens of thousands of dollars if the dishwasher or washing machine malfunctions. Having appropriate and adequate insurance is now more important for strata lot owners than ever before. H H H Adrienne Murray is a lawyer with Adrienne Murray Law Corporation. This article originally ran in the July and Sept issues of the CHOA Journal New view on condo owner liability By Stan Sauerwein Two back-to-back B.C. Supreme Court rulings this summer should prompt immediate conversations between brokers and their condo-owning clients, according to strata corporation insurance specialist Mike Valiquette. Valiquette, principal at Coastal Insurance Services Ltd. in Port Coquitlam, suspects increased E&O exposure may exist for brokers who don t make an effort to tell their condo policyholders they could be on the hook for huge strata corporation deductibles. Coastal Insurance, founded for the sole purpose of looking after strata corporations insurance, celebrated its 25th anniversary in March. The B.C. Supreme Court judgments resulted from appeals of municipal court case settlements (see column by Adrienne Murray on page 10). A spokesman for a major strata corporations group in the province says the rulings put an end to long-standing insurance abuse by strata unit owners. For the B.C. condo industry, with more than 20,000 strata corporations consisting of more than 900,000 individual units, the rulings represent clarification to a nagging question of responsibility for strata councils. Homeowners have been abusing the Season's Greetings from Barclay Restorations Restoring happiness to holidays for 37 years! We wish you all a happy, safe and relaxed holiday we'll take care of the stress! 24-hour emergency service Immediate water damage response «Full pack-out service «Structural repairs Vancouver Surrey BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 PAGE 13

4 Adjusting Surveying Mediation Services Special Investigation Unit Special Risk I N S U R A N C E B R O K E R S L T D Tel: Toll Free: Fax: Best Wishes from all of us for a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous 2008! PAGE 14 BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 North Island For Fast, Friendly Service Campbell River Courtenay Comox Port Alberni Powell River Nanaimo Vancouver Duncan Victoria Outstanding coverage 24/7... for 37 years strata insurance system for personal gain for far too long, says Tony Gioventu, executive director for the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. (CHOA), the main advocacy, educational and resource organization in the province for strata corporations, their strata councils and owners. If a homeowner is responsible for damages either in his unit or in a common area as a result of something that happens in his unit, asks Gioventu, Why should the strata corporation be paying the deductible and the replacement costs? This whole insurance deductible fiasco has been bubbling for at least three or four years, says Valiquette. The Strata Property Act has always said a strata corporation had the right to sue an owner if the owner was responsible for the loss. Nobody could define responsible, nor was it defined anywhere, he says. Now, precedent says if it happened in your unit, you re paying the deductible. Or, if it originated in your unit and the damage is below the deductible you re paying that, too, which is great because now we have definition. One thing about this finding is it is going to make life as a member of the strata council a lot easier. They used to look at a claim and how it took place and try to analyze whether or not they should sue a unit owner. They were in a very uneasy position. The court findings will allow a more cut-and-dried approach. The insurance industry benefits from this as well, says Gioventu. Owners realize they must have insurance to protect themselves and the risks and liabilities are spread across a broader plain. Do the rulings represent a shift of commercial exposure to private homeowners? Absolutely, admits Valiquette. And a $10,000 deductible can put some families into bankruptcy, but the issue of responsibility has been answered. It may not be the way everybody wanted it answered, and it might cost a few dollars more a year on everybody s unit-owner policy, but at least the protection is available. Valiquette says by now all brokers should be aware that the clients they insure on condominium unit-owner policies have a new exposure. He says brokers need to instruct clients to find out what their strata corporation deductible is, and then make sure that the unit-owner policy they sell doesn t have a limit lower than that deductible.

5 One of the longer-term results is the cost of the unit-owner policy is going to have to go up, Valiquette suspects. If insurance companies start paying very many $5,000 or $10,000 deductibles, more premium will have to be raised. So far, he hasn t seen any premium bumps. On the contrary, he says some insurance companies have extended their coverage very generously. But several carriers have been slow to react. There are some companies out there that limit the amount they pay for a deductible to $1,000 and they are some pretty large companies. CHOA doesn t keep an updated list of their members policy deductibles for easy reference. But section 154 of the Strata Property Act states that: The strata corporation must (a) review annually the adequacy of the strata corporation s insurance, and (b) report on the insurance coverage at each annual general meeting. Condo unit owners will have to be proactive. The potential for E&O exposure obviously makes communication with clients a good idea, and the sooner the better, says Valiquette. Wishing you and yours Smooth Sailing & Safe Harbour in the coming year. Season s Greetings from Jim, Dan, Nilanjana and Stephanie E.1st Ave., Vancouver BC V5M 4P3 Tel or toll-free Fax Underwritten by Pacific Marine; secured by CNA, Canada s largest marine insurer. BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 PAGE 15

6 Player or spectator? A CIP Designation puts your goals within reach. Sooner or later, you have to go for it. You can pass you can stickhandle but when that moment of truth arrives, you have to take the shot to achieve the goal. Whether you re a broker, an underwriter, adjuster or actuary, a Chartered Insurance Professional designation will give you a significant edge when the final score is on the line. The internationally recognized 10 course program puts an emphasis on practical application of theoretical knowledge. It builds on your experience and helps you to elevate your game. Through extensive public marketing, both insurance consumers and employers are learning the value of a CIP designation and understand that it indicates the pinnacle of the profession. Contact your local Institute or Chapter today to register for the upcoming semester. Choose an in-class program, taught at a location near you, or distance learning courses. Just imagine the net effect on your career The Professional Standard PAGE 16 BC BROKER DECEMber 2007

7 In his own words Jim Ball has inspired countless people over the years to excel in the insurance industry. His remarks at the podium at the Salute banquet, on receiving the Insurance Person of the Year award, show why. I have had a wonderful career in a business that I think is absolutely critical to the success of our society. I am proud, and I am grateful almost beyond words, for the recognition that you offer me tonight....i am most proud of the business that we are all in, I m proud of the successes that we have all enjoyed, and I m proud that when people look back at my time at bat they will remember a commitment to professional and community service. On the question of the insurance business, I believe that we all have a right to be proud of what we do. In every progressive society, there are a few institutions that make civilized life possible. Our parliaments and our courts give us places where we can govern ourselves and settle our disputes peacefully. Our system of laws and justice gives us a sense of fairness and equality, and a sense that we can enjoy real benefits by working together. And I don t think it s a stretch to add insurance to that list of essential social institutions. Insurance takes away the doubts that otherwise would stop people from cooperating. It takes away the sense of risk that would prevent people from working long and hard on something that in a moment could burn down or wash away. As much as the police officers and firefighters who are there when we call, insurance gives us all a very necessary sense of security. I m very proud of that, and proud to be part of that. With Jim Ball leading the charge, the Broker Identity Program really got down to business in 1997 when the brokerage industry was embroiled in a periodic Bank Act review to keep banks out of the insurance industry. Jim Ball is the 07 Insurance Person of the Year Insurance Person of the Year alumni: Eric Laity, John Glavin, Terri Johnson, Mike Porter, Jim Ball, Patti Kernaghan, Dave Clarke, Ron Newcomb, John Toomer. Absent: Jake Brower, Herb Osen, Ron Defieux, Vince Pritchard. Deceased: Jack Hamilton, Bob Vickerstaff, Conrad Speirs The industry turned out in force to the annual Salute banquet on Oct. 25 to honour broker Jim Ball of the Reliance Group as Insurance Person of the Year. Ball started his insurance career in 1966 in Cleveland, Ohio, as an adjuster. After further experience in Toronto as a claims examiner, reinsurance underwriter and marketing rep, he found himself in Vancouver working for Paragon, the precursor to Axa Pacific, as marketing manager. Fearing that he might be transferred from Vancouver at some point, in 1983 he moved over to the brokerage side, taking the position of president of Reliance Insurance; he bought the firm in The Reliance Group now employs 35 people and includes MGAs Pacific Marine Underwriting in Vancouver and Harbour Insurance Services in Midland, Ontario. Two of Jim s four children son Chris and daughter Judy work at Reliance. Ball recalls coming away from the annual IBABC conference in 1989 in Penticton feeling that he wanted to get involved. Over the next several years he went from volunteering regionally to leading nationally and was on hand for many industry milestones. He was the last president of the Greater Vancouver Insurance Brokers Association in 1993 when it dissolved, and president of IBABC in On his last day as president he signed the Memorandum of Understanding between IBABC and the Insurance Corp of B.C., an agreement that defines the working relationship between the public insurer and its broker force to this day. As Ball worked his way through the chairs at the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) he was a tireless promoter for the Broker Identity Program, especially in 1997 when he criss-crossed the country reminding brokers that BIP means business. He was IBAC s president in His volunteering for the industry has continued with the annual R.P. Vickerstaff distinguished-speaker dinner and the all-industry BCIT Diploma Committee. A profile of Jim Ball appears in the September 07 issue of Insurancewest magazine. Rising Star - Carla Smith Carla Smith was presented with the new Rising Star Award, which recognizes the next generation of insurance leaders. Smith started her career seven years ago at 22; today she s regional vice-president of ING s Vancouver office. ING s Jetse de Vries, senior VP for western Canada, and Karim Hirji, central and Atlantic VP Finance, congratulate her. BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 PAGE 17

8 Good news in your backyard Aviva now has better rates, new enhancements and bigger discounts in your neighbourhood. Start quoting today and you ll now get: Expanded rating territories (from 12 to 47!) Bigger discounts with no caps Better enhancements New high value home and condo product - Dolce Vita Better rates for your customers and better business for you Start quoting today and find out how our new rating territories make your quotes even better - and your customers even happier. Then, go to and tell us what you think - you could win a $100 gift card from Home Depot, Future Shop or Chapters/Indigo. PAGE 18 BC BROKER DECEMber 2007

9 E d u c a t i o n Advance your career in 08 with a CAIB designation By Michael Gaschler With 2008 nearly upon us, I d like to discuss licensing course progression, have a look at what s available in 2008, and announce a few exciting additions to our current course line-up. I encourage you to share this information with anyone you know who might be taking, or thinking about taking, licensing courses. Course progression There are two ways of getting started; the Fundamentals of Insurance and CAIB 1. Successfully completing either exam will give you the educational requirement for your Level 1 general insurance licence. The vast majority of people (over 95%) start with the Fundamentals of Insurance because it was designed to get people started right away, but that s not to say CAIB 1 isn t also a fantastic option. It provides a deeper understanding of habitational insurance, and those who took the Fundamentals course and who are now licensed and working should consider taking CAIB 1 at their first opportunity. Getting CAIB 1 under your belt is a terrific confidence-builder for the next step. It s time to shoot for that Level 2 licence. This one requires the completion of two courses: CAIB 2 and CAIB 3. They both deal with commercial insurance and can be done in whatever order you choose. A Level 2 licence allows you to supervise Level 1s and do business outside the office. At this point, it s just one more level of licensing to go; the coveted Level 3 licence. You ll need to complete CAIB 4 to make the educational requirement to attain the maximum level of licensing. The Level 3 licence is important to your career because it allows you to manage a brokerage. Fact: You don t have to apply for your Level 2 or 3 licensing in order to complete the CAIB designation. To become a general insurance agent Level 3, applicants must have been licensed for five of the last seven years, with a minimum of three years as a Level 2. Many people complete their CAIB designations long before they are eligible for a Level 3 licence. The courses Currently there are two ways to prepare for your Fundamentals of Insurance or CAIB exams: self-study and immersion. Self-study is just that a correspondence course. You order the text materials and study on your own until you feel ready to challenge the exam. The immersion courses are a great way to fast-track your education. You ll receive text materials in advance just like self-study, but you ll also receive instruction in an intensive classroom setting for one week. Classes run 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and conclude with the exam on the final day. Fundamentals immersions are held over five days while CAIB immersions are seven days long with a day off in the middle. If you haven t tried an online CAIB add-on yet, I recommend that you do. These are a multimedia presentation with visual slides and text coupled with a professional voice-over narrative. This online component is a great enhancement to either the CAIB self-study or immersion package. IBABC s 2008 education calendar will include daily Fundamentals of Insurance examinations in Vancouver and 12 monthly exams for locations outside the Lower Mainland. There are seven Fundamentals of Insurance immersion courses planned to be held at SFU s Harbour Centre in downtown Vancouver in You can also expect the usual five national CAIB exam dates with an immersion course just prior to each of them. This year will see two CAIB 3 courses, two for CAIB 4, and one for CAIB 2. On the horizon We have some exciting new offerings Licensing Course and Exam Schedule 2008 Fundamentals of Insurance Immersion Courses for 2008 January August March 3 7 October 6 10 April December June 2 6 Fundamentals of Insurance Exams Daily exam sittings at IBABC s office in Vancouver: Mon. Fri., 8:45 AM, 11:15 AM, and 1:45 PM Proctored exam sittings at various venues in B.C.: January 16, February 13, March 12, April 9, May 7, June 11, July 9, August 20, September 10, October 15, November 5, December 3. Dates and venues are subject to change based on registration volume. CAIB Immersion Courses CAIB 3: February 6 13 CAIB 4: April 30 May 7 CAIB 2: July 2 9 CAIB 3: September 3 10 CAIB 4: November 26 December 3 CAIB Exam dates February 13 September 10 May 7 December 3 July 9 To register, go to, click on Education and follow the links. For further information about CAIB and other designation courses, contact Michael Gaschler at or For information about Fundamentals of Insurance, contact Heather Pidcock at ibabc.org or BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 PAGE 19

10 GM_xmas_BC_07:Layout 1 11/9/07 9:17 AM Page 1 planned for CAIB 4 online, the final installment in the CAIB online line-up, and CAIB online discussion groups are both set to debut in the coming year. Firstly, the final online CAIB installment, CAIB 4, should be available in the first quarter of Also coming in the first quarter of 08 are CAIB online discussion groups. This offering is set to debut with CAIB 2 and all four CAIB online discussion groups are planned to be available before the end of the year. CAIB online discussion groups are powered by text and multimedia and the learning is driven by online forum interaction. Interaction between participants and a professional instructor is the key to this proven methodology. H H H Michael Gaschler is licensing course coordinator at IBABC. Seminar Calendar F e b r u a r y Best Wishes for a Happy Holiday Season 24/7 Emergency Service Water Extraction Contents Pack-out Mould & Asbestos Remediation Smoke & Odour Control FIRE FLOOD WIND BIOHAZARD Trusted by Owners and Insurers Since Locations PAGE 20 BC BROKER DECEMber 2007 Burnaby Feb. 5: Beginner s RCT EvaluRater, all day Feb. 7: Contemporary Liability Insurance, How We Got Here from There, Part 1, AM; Exclusions and What To Do About Them, Part 2, PM Feb. 14: Risk Recognition Property, AM; Risk Recognition Casualty, PM Feb. 20: Effective Self-Management for Greater Success, AM; Leadership Excellence, PM Kelowna Feb. 26: Problems with Property Policies: Recent Developments Regarding First Party Claims & Coverage, AM; The Condominium Conundrum: Insurance for Strata Properties, PM Nanaimo Feb. 27: Effective Self-Management for Greater Success, all day Victoria Feb. 19: Problems with Property Policies: Recent Developments Regarding First Party Claims & Coverage, AM; The Condominium Conundrum: Insurance for Strata Properties, PM Web Broadcast Feb. 6: Occupiers Claims & Coverages, AM; BIP and the Power of Branding, PM

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