• Q1:What coverage is legally required for a strata corporation?
    1. The Strata Property Act requires the strata corporation to acquire and maintain property insurance and liability insurance. - Read more

      • Property insurance required for strata corporation:
        According to section 149 (1) of the Strata Property Act, a strata corporation must obtain and maintain property insurance on the common property, common assets, buildings shown on the strata plan, and fixtures built or installed on a strata lot, if the fixtures are built or installed by the owner developer as part of the original construction on the strata lot. The property insurance must be on the basis of full replacement value, and insure against major perils, as set out in the regulations, and any other perils specified in the bylaws. “Major perils" are defined as follows: fire, lightning, smoke, windstorm, hail, explosion, water escape, strikes, riots or civil commotion, impact by aircraft and vehicles, vandalism and malicious acts.
        Full replacement value is the full amount that an entity would have to pay to repair or replace an asset at the present time. Should the strata corporation’s insurance limit not be sufficient to meet the costs to repair or replace damaged property, the strata corporation and owners will be required to pay for any short fall.
      • Commercial General Liability required for strata corporation:
        According to section 150 (1) of the Strata Property Act, a strata corporation must obtain and maintain liability insurance to insure the strata corporation against liability for property damage and bodily injury. A strata corporation must have at least $2 million in liability insurance coverage.
  • Q2:What coverage should a strata corporation get?

    Here is a list of insurance coverages we recommend you obtain for your strata corporation:

    1. Property Insurance - Read more

      The Strata Property Act requires the strata corporation to acquire and maintain property insurance and liability insurance.
      Property insurance is intended to insure property against direct loss or damage. Section 149(1) of the Act requires that each strata corporation acquire and maintain property insurance covering the following property:

      • the common property;
      • the common assets (which would include any furnishings, equipment or other items owed by the corporation);
      • the buildings shown on the strata plan; and
      • except in the case of a bare land strata plan, fixtures built or installed by the developer as part of the original construction on the strata lot
      • (these items are referred to in this article as the “Corporation Covered Property”)

      Under the Strata Protect program the minimum is well covered; however BFL also endeavored to create a better product that covers your strata corporation against common perils such as:

      • Earthquake
      • Tsunami and flood
      • Sewer backup
      • Terrorism
      • Water ingress, and much more
    2. Crime Insurance - Read more

      Crime insurance is designed to respond to claims for misappropriation of funds by the strata corporation’s agents, employees and volunteers.
      Under Strata Protect we offer comprehensive defense against crime perils such as:

      • Comprehensive Dishonesty, Disappearance and Destruction, including fidelity
      • Covers theft losses inside and outside the premises
      • Covers the contingency reserve fund
      • Kicks in from dollar one with No deductible
    3. Commercial General Liability - Read more

      Commercial General Liability insurance, or CGL, protects the strata and its employees against claims by third party claimants for bodily injury, property damage and personal injury, whether a law suit is filed or not.
      Section 150(1) of the Act requires the strata corporation to obtain and maintain liability coverage to insure the corporation against claims for property damage and bodily injury suffered by others. Regulation 9.2 states that a strata corporation must have at least $2 million in liability insurance coverage. Fortunately, increasing the minimum amount of liability coverage from $2 million to some higher limit normally results in only a small increase in premium and, as a result, most strata corporations choose liability insurance coverage limits of at least $5 million; considering awards for damages from a catastrophic injury claim often surpass $2 million, a higher limit is a prudent choice.
      Under Strata Protect we offer:

      • Comprehensive suite of liability coverages.
      • Options up to $20,000,000
      • Options to remove aggregate restrictions.
      • Property Manager Extension
    4. Glass Breakage - Read more

      Accidental glass breakage is typically not an insured peril under the Property Insurance section.
      Under Strata Protect, we offer glass repair and replacement services of exterior building glass and door glass of all buildings on described premises for accidental breakage.

    5. Directors and Officers Liability - Read more

      Under the Strata Property Act, strata council members are held to the same standards as that expected of the directors of companies and non-profit organizations. Assigning duties to others, including a property manager, will not free the council members from liability.
      A standard addition to most strata corporation policies is Directors and Officers (D&O) Liability coverage, specifically reflected as a viable option by virtue of section 151 of the Act, which allows the corporation to obtain errors and omissions insurance on behalf of council members. D&O liability insurance is intended to react to any claims made against the strata corporation’s management (being the members of council and the property manager) in respect of any errors or omissions made by strata council members in the exercise of their duties. The strata corporation should be included as a named insured to the D&O liability coverage. If some of council’s responsibilities have been entrusted to non -members, such as committee members, consideration should be given to adding these persons as an insured.
      Under the Strata Protect Directors and Officers Liability insurance policy we include coverage for:

      • The corporation, council members and the property manager with no deductible
      • Defense costs are in addition to the limit and the policy includes employment practices claims and human rights complaints at no additional cost and with no sub-limit.
    6. Equipment Breakdown - Read more

      Equipment breakdowns happen more often than you'd expect and often can be quite costly. Accidents can occur through mechanical breakdown, electrical arcing, power surges or brownouts, cracking, bulging, explosion, implosion and centrifugal force. These accidents are all excluded from property insurance.
      Under the Strata Protect Equipment Breakdown policy, we cover a comprehensive list of common building equipment such as:

      • Main fire and electrical panels
      • Off Premises Power loss
      • Ammonia Contamination
      • Boiler and HVAC system breakdown
    7. Pollution - Read more

      Under the Environmental Management Act, a strata corporation may be held liable for the cost of clean up of a "contaminated site" which means an area of the land in which the soil or any groundwater lying beneath it, or the water or the underlying sediment, contains:
      (a) a hazardous waste, or
      (b) another prescribed substance
      Under the Strata Protect Pollution Liability policy we can take care of allegations for a possible pollution exposure, founded or unfounded. We have included very practical coverage to protect the corporation from pollution exposure perils such as:

      • Gradual release pollution events
      • Retrospective cover looks back in time and responds when a claim is made
      • Discovery of underground storage tanks
    8. Volunteer Accident - Read more

      When an accident occurs on the property of a strata corporation whereby the strata may have been negligent, the Commercial General Liability coverage will function to cover that risk. When an accident occurs whereby the strata is not negligent, the strata and its CGL insurer are not obligated to compensate an injured volunteer while he/she is helping out.
      Under Strata Protect, Volunteer Accident coverage functions to offer no-fault benefits after an accident for volunteers and those “family members” of owners of the strata under the age of 85 of up to $100,000 (options for higher limits) in case where the strata corporation is not liable.

    9. Legal Expenses - Read more

      Section 92(b) of the Strata Property Act reads:
      "To meet its expenses the strata corporation must establish, and the owners must contribute, by means of strata fees, to a contingency reserve fund for common expenses that usually occur less often than once per year or that do not usually occur." Legal costs incurred due to a lawsuit, founded or unfounded, can be devastating to a strata corporation’s contingency reserve fund.
      Under Strata Protect the exclusive Legal Protection Insurance pays for your legal fees to pursue your legal rights in many civil actions such as damage to property, legal nuisance, trespass, bodily injury due to an accident, disputes with vendors and even some disputes with unit owners.

    10. Riot, Civil Commotion and Terrorism - Read more

      A new insurance act introduced in July 2012 confirmed insurers cannot exclude damage by fire to residential properties following a terrorist event.
      Under Strata Protect we included a limited broad terrorism product that protects against riots, strikes, civil commotion, malicious damage and/or direct terrorist activity.

    11. Privacy Breach - Read more

      The Personal Information and Protection Act (PIPA) governs the collection, use and disclosure of personal information by organizations in a manner that recognizes both the right of individuals to protect their personal information and the need of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal information for purposes that a reasonable person would consider appropriate in the circumstances. It is the responsibility of the strata corporation to know and adhere to PIPA legislation.
      Under Strata Protect you are covered for the costs resulting from Privacy Breach Perils such as:

      • "Lost Hardware" e.g. a lost usb drive
      • "DNS Cache Poisoning"" e.g. Personal information is exposed online by spyware, worm or malware
      • "Accidental Communication"e.g. An email sent to the wrong person containing personal information
      • "Accidental Publication" and much more

      The Privacy Breach coverage includes proactive consulting services to help stratas meet the legislated requirements and reactive assistance should an information breach occur.

  • Q3:Do owners and tenants need to obtain their own insurance?

    Here are 4 reasons for you to obtain insurance for your unit:

    1. Contents Insurance
      Strata property insurance does not cover improvements and personal property such as furniture and electrical appliances. The insurance that the strata corporation organizes basically covers the structure of the building and any fixtures inside lots such as sinks, baths and plumbing.
    2. Unit Additional Protection
      If there is a loss to the property in amounts in excess of amounts insured by the strata corporation, the shortfall will be passed onto the unit owners in the form of a special levy.
    3. Liability Insurance
      An owner will not be defended by the strata corporation’s liability insurer against claims for property damage and/or bodily injury, even if the claim arises from an injury suffered on the common property.
    4. Deductible Assessment Insurance
      It is always recommended that owners obtain a policy which includes deductible assessment coverage for at least the amount of the strata corporation’s deductible. Under section 158 (2) of the Act, the strata corporation may sue an owner to recover the deductible if the owner is deemed to have been responsible for the claim. Many strata corporations have also adopted bylaws allowing the strata to bill the cost of the deductible back to the responsible strata lot without having to sue.
  • Q4:Where can our strata get insurance?

    The vast majority of strata corporations in BC rely upon independent insurance brokers to arrange their insurance. The role of an insurance broker is often misunderstood. An insurance broker is an independent agent who represents the buyer, rather than the insurance company, and tries to find the buyer the best policy by comparison shopping. The insurance broker’s job is to:

    • negotiate with the insurer(s) on your behalf finding the best price, often searching many insurance markets;
    • identify your insurance needs and ensure your strata corporation has adequate coverage;
    • advocate on your behalf any claim dispute you may have with the insurer;
    • promptly answer any insurance related questions you may have;
    • provide you with all documentation legally required;
    • ensure the strata corporation’s insurance policy is in compliance with all provincial and Canadian insurance statutes.
  • Q5:What is the premium?
    1. An insurance premium is the amount of money charged by an insurance company for active coverage. - Read more

      Premiums for a strata corporation are determined by insurance companies through a variety of factors such as:

      • Location
      • Age of the building
      • Construction details
      • Fire detection and suppression systems
      • Amount of the deductible
      • Security features
      • Claims history
      • Replacement cost value
      • Latest appraisal and more
  • Q6:What is a deductible?
    1. A deductible is a sum of money a strata corporation pays before an insurer will provide the benefits outlined in an insurance policy. - Read more

      The purpose of a deductible is to keep the cost of insurance lower and to prevent strata corporations from making claims when the cost of loss is small. When a strata corporation needs to make a claim, it must first incur the deductible in full; the insurer then steps in to cover the balance of the insured costs, up to the limits outlined in the policy. Section 158(1) of the Strata Property Act provides that payment of a deductible is treated as a common expense of all owners. A strata corporation must pay a deductible by way of funds raised by special levy or taken from the contingency reserve fund. Under section 158 (2) of the Strata Property Act the strata corporation is permitted to sue a responsible owner to recover any deductible paid by the corporation. Some strata corporations have adopted a bylaw requiring a responsible owner to pay the deductible without the need for a court order. A higher deductible may lower the cost of insurance; however, if the there are enough claims below the deductible limit, a strata corporation may pay exponentially more in repair costs than it would by lowering a deductible and accepting a higher cost of insurance. An experienced insurance broker can help a strata corporation determine a reasonable deductible.

  • Q7:How do I make a claim?

    PROPERTY CLAIMS

    The insured or property manager should secure as much information as is available: such as loss date & location, identity & coordinates of all parties involved, cause, nature & extent of damages, police case number, etc.

    Emergency work should be initiated as soon as possible to mitigate loss, control damages and minimize impact on owner(s) and residents. Qualified and approved contractors only should be called in to ensure quality and service standards are met and costs are justified.

    The claim should be reported as soon as possible directly to the BFL Claims Department by telephone in case of emergencies and/or facsimile or e-mail in other cases. Use of the “Insurance Claim Report” form, including management company reference number, form is recommended.

    BFL Claims Department should be notified when initial contact by an adjuster is not made in a timely manner after a claim is reported (IE: within 24 hours).

    All repair specifications, estimates and/or quotes should be forwarded to BFL Claims Department for records purposes and immediate delivery to the appropriate adjuster.

    Invoices for repairs are not usually paid by The Owners, except for specific invoices in the amount of the applicable policy deductible. All other invoices should be forwarded to BFL Claims Department for records purposes, immediate delivery to the adjuster and direct payment to the contractor or trade.

    LIABILITY CLAIMS

    All incidents should be recorded with all available information such as time and date of incident, exact location, identity & coordinates of all parties involved, nature and extent of damages if known, etc. Incidents should be reported to BFL Claims Department as soon as possible.

    Any development, activity and/or documents related to an incident should be reported or dispatched as soon as possible to BFL Claims Department.
    Go to Online Claims Form

  • Q8:Why choose BFL CANADA Insurance Services?

    BFL CANADA works for you, the client. For over 25 years, the BFL CANADA Vancouver team has been working with strata corporations all over BC, making it a leader and undisputed specialist in the area of strata and apartment (real estate) insurance services. We are also now Canada’s largest truly independent insurance broker and, as a national broker have wider access and solid long-term relationships to virtually all the best insurers across the country and abroad.

    • BFL undertakes a strategic process with your insurance renewal involving many months of planning and negotiation;
    • BFL CANADA is involved with many educational organizations providing specialized advice to the strata industry. We act as a resource for all our strata clients;
    • BFL CANADA has a professional obligation to the strata corporation for the correct placement of coverage. BFL carries professional errors and omissions insurance;
    • BFL CANADA can arrange financing for your insurance premiums.
    1. The role of an insurance broker is often misunderstood. AT BFL CANADA we research the insurance marketplace on your behalf and work with all insurance companies in the marketplace. The results of this ensure our clients are obtaining the best possible coverage and pricing for such - Read more

      Because of its size, scope and reputation, BFL CANADA can always find a replacement insurer if an insurance company decides to change its selection criteria; after all, BFL has access to the entire Canadian insurance market, including Lloyds of London.

    2. Built-in claims support for all clients in dealing with insurers. - Read more

      BFL has a dedicated full time strata claims team that provides the following automatic services:
      Assigning the right independent licensed adjuster for the job;
      Providing strata corporations with consistent and thoughtful claims advice, always keeping the strata corporation’s best interests in mind;
      Keeping an active file open and working that claim file on behalf of the strata;
      Regularly following up with adjusters and insurers to ensure fair, equitable and timely settlement of claims for the strata corporation;
      Co-coordinating repairs with only qualified and trusted vendors;
      Attending large claims to help streamline processes, while continually promoting co-operation between strata and unit owners’ insurers;
      Assisting to collect deductibles from responsible unit owners;
      And more…

    3. Legal Expense Insurance. - Read more

      The BFL CANADA exclusive Legal Protection Insurance Policy includes access to Telephone Legal Advice for strata property managers and designated council members with regard to legal questions and problems affecting the strata corporation.
      In addition, the Legal Protection Insurance Policy also includes legal Defense Costs, Contract Dispute and Debt Recovery, Property Protection, Bodily Injury and Strata Council and Owner Disputes coverage for specified Insured Events, subject to policy terms and conditions. The BFL CANADA Claims team is available to discuss availability of the coverage at your convenience.