Insurers, snow removal contractors, and commercial property owners in Ontario received some good news from the provincial government this month, ahead of the heavy snow fall season.
A section of Bill 118, called the "Occupiers’ Liability Act”, will now limit claimants from taking legal action to recover personal injury damages caused by snow or ice (e.g. a slip and fall injury), unless they provide notice of the intent to sue within 60 days of the incident.
This is a major change, as previously claimants had up to a two year notice period.
The lower notice period is expected to reduce the number of lawsuits for slip and fall claims submitted to snow removal contractors and property owners. Historically, the high frequency in legal claims has caused insurance companies to deny offering coverage to some property owners and snow removal contractors, or, if they did, the premiums were often unaffordable.
According to Canadian Underwriter, one snowplow operator had his insurance premium jump from $16,000 to $52,000. In other cases it’s not even available, as insurers didn’t want to deal with the risk of a potential claim up to 24 months later.
"Brokers across Ontario have been hearing from policyholders that availability of snow removal insurance for their businesses was scarce to non-existent in some regions, meaning some operators wouldn’t be able to secure the necessary liability insurance to cover their business this winter, and therefore would be unable to operate,” IBAO said in a media statement. "Bill 118 establishes new criteria around snow removal liability that will encourage insurance availability to return in Ontario.”
With this change to the act, it’s expected that insurance companies will be less restrictive with this coverage.
As a broker we’re optimistic that insurers will soon offer this coverage at a reasonable premium, and we will be able to provide you the best coverage for the best price available.
If you have any questions about liability coverage, want to add it to your commercial policy, or start a new quote, don’t hesitate to contact a Staebler Broker today.
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