The past week has been incredibly trying for all of us, but we are also extremely proud of what we have accomplished in such a short time as circumstances continue to shift rapidly. Below is an update that includes a summary of what you can continue to expect from our team as well as some action steps we would recommend that you take in the short-term.
We recognize that some of you are wrestling with important and urgent decisions around general meetings, pending CRT actions, finances and other items. While we are preparing another memo to you on a variety of matters, we are trying not to inundate you with information all at once. Below are a few links, and attached are a few documents, which directly address some of the questions we’ve been fielding.
We will be posting updates based on information we receive from the authorities on any developments with COVID-19 that are relevant to Strata Corporations and our firm. Below is our first update.
With the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, global populations are on alert causing reactions among general populations from lower risk countries including Canada.
Currently, public health authorities in BC and Canada are not recommending testing or assessment for individuals who have not come into contact with someone showing symptoms. This may change as the scope of the alert widens.
For the immediate future and as a preliminary measure, we are asking clients and service providers to avoid visits to our office.
With continued incredible support from our staff and industry colleagues alike, Stratawest is delighted to have made significant contributions to the North Shore Christmas Bureau for the 9th year running and to Harvest Project in our 4th year of involvement with their fantastic program – extending a hand up, not just a hand out. The response this year was again awe-inspiring, with amazingly generous donations of toys, clothing, thousands of dollars in gift cards, movie passes, and restaurant meals, sporting equipment and sporting event tickets, Kindles and many other items for needy families. Incredibly, there was far more than the picture below shows as we could not fit all fourteen bikes in the shot. Imagine kids getting bikes on Christmas that may have thought they were getting nothing much at all, so awesome.
We are proud to take part in Harvest Project’s Adopt-A-Family campaign to bring hope to North Shore families in need and on their way back to healthier lives. The staff and leadership of Stratawest believe it’s important to ‘give where we live’ and Harvest Project is a local charity that supports over 350 families each month with coaching and counsel along with grocery and clothing support. This Christmas we have donated $2,400 to the program which will provide support in the coming year to a North Shore family challenged by family break-down, illness, job loss and poverty. Harvest Project provides client-care coaching and counsel, grocery and clothing support, emergency drop-in help, and their Clothes For Change social enterprise thrift shop. They impact the community by breaking the poverty cycle and restoring people to healthier lives.
We want to sincerely thank and acknowledge the support of our colleagues in the industry and our staff for making this holiday season a better one for so many kids and their families. It is because of the participation and big hearts of many that we are collectively able to make a difference in so many lives, so thank you so much to those that took part and to the many others holding events of their own this holiday season.
And lastly, shout out to James Wilson at Obsession Bikes and their 2019 Bikes for Tykes Program in benefit of the North Shore Christmas Bureau for again handling delivery duties of the donated bikes. Merry Christmas guys!
Season’s Greetings to all of you, and best wishes from all of us here at Stratawest Management. Cheers!
Further to our article from last week, linked here, the issue of Strata Insurance premium and deductible increases has started to appear in the media. Here is an article and video from Global TV news, including information from the Condominium Home Owners Association on the subject.
We regret to be the ones to share this bad news if you are not already aware, so please try not to shoot the messenger. Strata Councils and their respective Ownership groups need to be aware that ALL Strata Corporations in and around the Lower Mainland (i.e. all of our clients) should expect to see very significant increases in the premiums they pay for insurance as well as deductibles. This is a difficult topic to distill into a few bullet points and we will attempt to flesh out the new reality below, but here are some high (or low) lights:
- Premium increases between 20-80% are common, with some outliers on either side;
- Deductibles are increasing significantly- $100,000 is becoming the norm for water damage claims in high-rises;
- This is the result of economic factors both micro and macro in scope;
- You are not alone- this is impacting all Strata Corporations in the Lower Mainland, all Property Management firms and all insurance brokerages;
- Owners found to be “responsible” for a loss will be liable for these new deductibles under most Strata Corporation bylaws;
- We do not profess to provide expertise on insurance, but offer our update below- this has proven to be a very difficult month for Property Managers who are trying their best to assist their clients during what is our busiest time of an always busy year and we appreciate your understanding that this is not of our making and that there is zero money being made by our brokerage related to insurance commissions or the extra work involved in policy renewals. We are offering this memo in our efforts to educate Strata Councils and Ownership groups about the present realities and challenges of the Strata insurance market and will continue to do so at every opportunity.
The British Columbia Law Institute published a report earlier this year that could have several significant impacts on Strata Corporations throughout the province. We have reviewed their report and tried to break out the most important recommendations they’ve made to the provincial government, which will likely result in at least some amendments to the Strata Property Act (the “SPA”). We recommend reviewing the report in depth, however below we’ve included below notes on some of the more important subjects of conversation.
You can review the whole report here: https://www.bcli.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Insurance-Issues-for-Stratas_Report.pdf
Some of the key recommendations they’ve made include:
Lesperance Mendes, whom we regularly link to on our blog, have 2 articles this month we think are worth referring.
Last year, we wrote to you regarding the planned increases to the minimum wage in British Columbia, and the impact these increased wages would have on Strata Corporations.