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Perth County sees its municipal insurance premium increase 54%


December 17, 2010   by Canadian Underwriter


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Perth County Council approved a 54% increase to its 2011 municipal insurance premium, which rose to $445,056.
The Council tendered an RFP to handle its municipal insurance in late November. Only two municipal insurers – Frank Cowan and the Ontario Municipal Insurance Exchange (OMEX) – made the Dec. 14, 2010 deadline.
A representative of Frank Cowan Insurance Co. appeared as a delegate at the council’s Dec. 16, 2010 meeting, according to the Beacon Herald. The insurer explained the premium amount was influenced by the increased liability costs related to joint-and-several liability.
The tort principle of joint and several liability essentially exposes a municipality to pay up to 100% of any damage award in a liability case involving multiple defendants, even if the municipality itself is found to be only 1% liable for the damage.  
Municipal risk managers have identified joint-and-several liability as a pressing issue in 2010. The Beacon-Herald quoted one councilor as suggesting the council should “bend the ear” of Perth-Wellington MPP John Wilkinson in favour of reform efforts of the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), which is seeking to change the rules on joint-and-several liability.