Canadian Underwriter

MGA simplifies purchase and validation of tenant’s insurance online

June 9, 2021   by Greg Meckbach

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Landlords often require their tenants to have insurance coverage as a condition of the leases, but it could be quite a paper chase to keep track of thousands of tenants and their insurance status.

Vancouver-based insurtech and managing general agent Apollo Insurance Solutions Ltd. is trying to crack this nut by letting tenants buy insurance when they sign up online for their leases.

“It is very common for residential property managers to require in their lease that the tenant has insurance,” Apollo CEO Jeff McCann said in a recent interview about a deal Apollo announced June 3 with Toronto-based Royal York Property Management.

As part of its process for new leases, Royal York now prompts their residential tenants online to buy their tenant’s insurance, McCann told Canadian Underwriter. The policy and certificate are uploaded automatically into Royal York’s system, so the tenant does not have to send the landlord proof of insurance.

As part of the Royal York Property Management deal, Apollo provides digital insurance products tailored to tenants of properties managed by Royal York Properties, as well as to landlords.

The company has more than 10,000 properties — including condos, houses and multi-family units — under management.

For a property manager, it is difficult to manage thousands of units and track whether the tenants have the insurance required as a condition of leasing, said McCann. With the deal between Apollo and Royal York, the process of buying and paying for their tenant’s insurance is embedded into the renting process, he told Canadian Underwriter.

With a paper-based leasing process, a renter could provide their landlord with proof that they have insurance. But it’s possible the tenant could later cancel their insurance without telling the landlord.

“That is a big problem for landlords — to have that verification [that the tenant actually has the insurance required by the lease] year after year,” said McCann.

With the new deal between Apollo and Royal York, if a tenant in a Royal York-managed property cancels their insurance during the middle of the term or fails to renew, the property manager gets notified.

In addition to being an MGA, Apollo operates the Apollo Exchange, which lets insurance agents and their customers purchase policies online.

In the deal with Royal York, the renters buy their insurance directly from Apollo. As the MGA, Apollo places the renters’ insurance with a panel of insurers. Apollo is not publicly naming the carriers.

If a tenant renting a property managed by Royal York wanted to, that tenant could choose to get their insurance from someone other than Apollo, said McCann. But if the renter chooses to get their tenant’s insurance from Apollo, then the renter can purchase it online and pay their premiums (either annually or in 12 monthly instalments) by credit card or debit card.

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