• Q1:What coverage should a syndicate of co-ownership get?

    Here is a list of insurance coverages we recommend you obtain for your syndicate of co-ownership:

    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. 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.
    5. 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
    6. 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
    7. 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.

    8. 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.

    9. 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.

    10. 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.

  • Q2:What coverage is legally required?
    1. The Civil Code of Quebec stipulates that a co-ownership syndicate [i.e. a condominium association] must purchase and maintain property and liability insurance. - Read more

      • Property insurance required by the Civil Code of Quebec:

        Pursuant to Article 1073 of the C.c.Q: “The syndicate has an insurable interest in the whole building, including the private portions. It shall take out insurance against ordinary risks, such as fire and theft, on the whole of the building, with the exception of improvements made by a co-owner to his/her portion. The amount insured is equal to the replacement cost of the building.”

        When lawmakers refer to the actual “replacement cost,” this means reconstruction costs, i.e. the amount required to reconstruct the entire building in the event of a claim, without considering its state of disrepair or any depreciation. The replacement cost must include: 

        • the cost of demolition, 
        • the cost of reconstruction, 
        • applicable taxes, 
        • fees charged by professionals involved in the reconstruction, such as architects, engineers, etc.

        Lawmakers included a brief list in this article of the code, i.e. “such as fire and theft,” to offer a few examples of “ordinary risks.” A co-ownership syndicate’s insurance contract should, of course, cover more than just fire and theft.

        Within the meaning of the law, an adequately insured syndicate will be covered by an “All Risks” insurance policy including the following coverage:

        -          Condo fee insurance,

        -          Sewer backup insurance,

        -          Flood insurance,

        -          Earthquake insurance,

        -          Crime and embezzlement insurance,

        -          Boiler and machinery insurance,

        -          Directors’ and officers’ liability insurance.

      • General commercial liability insurance required by the Civil Code of Quebec:
        Pursuant to Article 1073 of the C.c.Q: “The syndicate shall also take out third person liability insurance.”
  • Q3:Do owners and tenants need to obtain their own insurance?

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

    1. Personal property insurance
      A co-ownership syndicate’s insurance does not cover any improvements that a co-owner makes to his/her portion of the building nor does it cover his/her personal property, such as furniture and household appliances. The insurance taken out by a co-ownership syndicate essentially protects: the building itself, including the common areas and the portion of the building included in each unit. It also protects the original fixtures in each unit, such as cabinets, sinks, bathtubs and plumbing.
    2. Unit Additional Protection 
      It is also important for co-owners to take out insurance to protect themselves against any inadequacies in the syndicate’s policy. Additional unit protection enables co-owners to be compensated if, for example, the syndicate imposes special assessments to pay for damages, due to underinsurance in the event of a claim.
    3. Liability Insurance
      A co-ownership syndicate’s liability insurance does not protect co-owners in the event of a lawsuit involving property damage or personal injury, even if such claims arise from damages that occurred in a common area of the building.
    4. Deductible Assessment Insurance
      Co-owner insurance covering inadequacies in the syndicate’s policy also covers co-owners should they be required to pay a portion of the syndicate’s deductible during the settlement of a claim. Co-owners are advised to take out insurance whose protection, at minimum, covers the “water damage” deductible specified in the building’s insurance policy. To recoup a deductible, co-ownership syndicates may take legal action against co-owners found to be liable for a claim. Many co-ownership syndicates also have bylaws that allow them to charge the total cost of the deductible to the responsible co-owner without having to go through legal channels.
  • Q4:Where can our co-ownership syndicate purchase insurance?

    In Quebec, the vast majority of co-ownership syndicates rely on independent insurance brokers to shop for their insurance. However, the insurance broker’s role is often poorly understood. An insurance broker is an independent agent who represents the buyer, rather than the insurance company. The broker job is to compare insurers and find the best insurance for the buyer. The responsibilities of an insurance broker include:

    • negotiating with the insurer(s) on your behalf, in order to obtain the best price (this often entails dealing with several insurance markets);
    • determining your insurance needs and ensuring that your co-ownership syndicate has adequate coverage;
    • defending your rights in the event of litigation involving a claim filed with the insurer;
    • rapidly responding to all your insurance questions;
    • providing you with all documentation required by law;
    • ensuring that the syndicate’s insurance complies with all insurance laws and regulations.
  • Q5:What is the premium?
    1. An insurance premium is the price that the policyholder must pay to be eligible for insurance coverage in the event of a claim. - Read more

      Premiums for co-ownership syndicates are set by insurance companies and are based on a variety of factors, such as:

      • Location
      • Age of the building
      • Construction details
      • Fire detection and suppression systems
      • Amount of the deductible
      • Security features
      • Syndicate's claims history
      • Replacement cost value
      • Latest appraisal and more
  • Q6:What is a deductible?
    1. A deductible is the amount of money that a co-ownership syndicate must pay before the insurer pays the benefits outlined in the insurance contract. - Read more

      The purpose of a deductible is to reduce the cost of insurance as much as possible and to prevent a co-ownership syndicate from making claims for damages that are relatively inexpensive. Should a co-ownership syndicate make a compensation claim, it must first pay the deductible in full; the insurer will then pay the remaining balance of insured costs, up to the amount stipulated in the insurance policy. The payment of a deductible is treated as a joint expense, shared by all co-owners. To meet the deductible, a syndicate must withdraw the necessary amount from its reserve fund or impose a special assessment on all co-owners. To recoup a deductible, the syndicate may take legal action against a co-owner. Some co-ownership syndicates have adopted bylaws allowing them to charge the deductible to the responsible co-owner without having to obtain a court order. A higher deductible can help lower the cost of insurance; however, if more than one claim incident occurs and the cost of these incidents is below the deductible amount, a syndicate may be paying a lot more in repair costs than it would if it accepted a lower deductible and paid a higher insurance premium. An experienced insurance broker can help the syndicate determine an appropriate deductible.

  • Q7:How do I file an insurance claim?

    PROPERTY CLAIMS

    The insured or the property manager must collect as much information as possible: for example, the date and location of the claim incident; the identity and contact information of all parties involved; the cause, nature and extent of damages; and the number of the police incident report.
     
    Emergency work must be undertaken as quickly as possible to mitigate losses, control damages and minimize the claim incident’s impact on other co-owners and residents. To ensure quality and adherence to service standards and to justify costs, it is essential to use approved, qualified contractors.

    The claim must be reported directly to the BFL Claims Department as soon as possible. Claims should be reported by telephone in emergency cases and/or by fax or e-mail in other cases. It is recommended that you use the claims form, including the management company’s reference number.

    The BFL Claims Service must be notified if the claims adjuster does not contact you in a timely manner following the filing of a claim (i.e. within 24 hours).

    All repair specifications, estimates and/or bids must be forwarded to the BFL Claims Department to ensure prompt submission to the appropriate claims adjuster.

    Repair invoices are not generally paid by co-owners, except in cases where specific invoice amounts match the applicable deductible. All other invoices must be sent to the BFL Claims Department to be recorded, immediately forwarded to the claims adjuster and directly paid to the contractor or worker.

    LIABILITY CLAIMS

    All incidents must be documented and include as much information as possible: for example, the date, time, and exact location of the claim incident; the identity and contact information of all parties involved; and the nature and extent of damages, if known. Incidents must be reported to the BFL Claims Department as soon as possible.

    Any development, activity and/or document related to an incident must be reported or forwarded to the BFL Claims Department as soon as possible.

  • Q8:Why choose BFL CANADA Insurance Services?

    BFL CANADA works for you. We have been a leader in co-ownership and residential building insurance in Western Canada for more than 15 years. Building on our success, we have made our insurance program available in every Canadian province. We are very proud that we can now offer you a distinct insurance product tailored to the Quebec market!

    Our Condo and Residential Building Protection program, exclusive to BFL CANADA, already generates more than $150 million in premiums. Leading property managers trust BFL CANADA to offer their clients a superior insurance product: one that defies the competition by offering superior coverage and competitive premiums.

    BFL has distinguished itself thanks to our expertise in the field of co-ownership and residential building insurance, after-sales service and exclusive coverage types. We have negotiated advantageous agreements with various industry suppliers in order to offer our clientele the best possible service. Our products include preferential rates for assessing building reconstruction costs, financing insurance premiums and providing access to consultants for the installation of water leak alarms.

    In addition, we are now Canada’s leading independent insurance broker. As a national broker, we have greater access to most top industry insurers, both within the country and abroad, and we have established solid, long-term relationships with them.

    1. BFL initiates a strategic process, involving months of planning and negotiation, to renew your insurance. - Read more

    2. BFL works with numerous organizations, providing expert guidance to co-ownership sector stakeholders. We offer invaluable advice to our co-ownership syndicate clients. - Read more

    3. The insurance broker’s role is often poorly understood. At BFL Canada, we handle your file and work with leading insurance companies in the industry. Our clients thus obtain the best coverage at the best possible price. - Read more

      Thanks to our size, reputation and hard work, 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.

    4. BFL works with insurers to provide integrated insurance claim support for every client. - Read more

      We rely on a full-time team whose members are dedicated to co-ownership syndicate insurance claims. BFL’s services include:

      • Settling claims through qualified claims adjusters;
      • Providing sound claims advice to co-ownership syndicates, with the syndicate’s best interests invariably in mind;
      • Regularly monitoring claims adjusters and insurers to ensure fair, equitable and timely settlements;
      • Coordinating work with trusted, exclusive suppliers;
      • Assisting with major claims by simplifying processes, while ensuring cooperation among stakeholders;
      • Helping you recover the deductible amount from responsible co-owners;
      • and more!
    5. BFL CANADA has a professional obligation to co-ownership syndicates. We will help you find an insurance policy that meets your needs and complies with your syndicate’s bylaws (as well as all other applicable laws and regulations). As a conscientious company, BFL CANADA is protected by professional liability insurance. - Read more

    6. Legal expense insurance - Read more

      BFL CANADA’s exclusive legal expense insurance provides property managers and designated board members with access to a telephone consultation service. This service will answer your legal questions and address issues affecting the co-ownership syndicate.

      Our legal expense insurance also covers any defense costs that may be incurred, as well any legal expenses required to settle contractual disputes, collect debts, obtain personal injury or property damage settlements and/or resolve specific disputes between co-owners and the syndicate board, subject to the terms of the insurance contract.