Multiple condo owners are speaking out against the massive increase in their insurance premiums.
Condo Boards across Wood Buffalo have been having trouble finding affordable insurance since the Horse River wildfire, with some having to accept deals for much more money and less coverage.
In the case of the Cedarwoods Condominium Corporation, they recently accepted a $10 million policy that covers less than one-sixth of their actual need. The premium for the policy is set at $925,000 – a 600 per cent increase.
This has left many owners struggling financially with some having to file for bankruptcy.
Kaleena and Joseph Carriere recently saw the bank take control of their home after they decided they couldn’t afford the payments anymore.
The pair lives in B.C. and were planning on renting the condo at a lost of $700 a month, however, because of the increase in their premium they needed to pay around $1,000 more.
“I’ve been at that house for five-years, I brought my daughter home from the hospital to that location,” said Kaleena. “I had a lot of emotional attachments to it, it wasn’t just a house, this is where I built my family.”
She’s currently living at her father’s house with her family. It’s also looking like this will be a long-term move for the family.
“Unfortunately, with having to file bankruptcy, I don’t think home ownership is going to be an option for probably another 10 to 15 years,” she added.
If they decided to stay, they would only get covered for $63,000 through the new policy, something Kaleena says isn’t feasible.
Meanwhile, seeing his fellow neighbours struggling isn’t sitting well for one condo owner.
Dan Edwards, who sits as the Vice-Chair for the Cedarwoods Corporation, says the board struggled to find any insurance company that would cover them.
In a span of three years, the Board made four claims of over $11 million, mostly due to the wildfire, which has led insurers to classify them as high-risk.
“Knowing that other people are having that conversation… it’s even more weighing,” said Edwards.
Due to some fortunate situations, Edwards has been able to afford the rise in costs.
Current provincial legislation requires that corporations be covered as a whole, rather than allowing condo owners a chance to find their own insurance.
In an effort to help, Wood Buffalo council sent a letter to the GoA to help find a solution.
However, Edwards believes the biggest help they can get is directly from the insurance companies.
“Going to extremes is not a viable solution that is a long-term solution to recoup their costs, they need to reevaluate their processes.”
Cedarwoods isn’t the only condo corporation struggling.
According to documents obtained by Mix News, multiple boards are finding it hard to obtain affordable insurance.