Canadian Underwriter

Toronto Insurance Conference approaching IBAC on declaration of emergency endorsement

October 26, 2015   by Greg Meckbach, Associate Editor

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After running into some “brick walls” on getting buy-in from Canadian insurers to include a declaration of emergency endorsement into their commercial property & casualty policies, the Toronto Insurance Conference is asking a former president to raise the issue with the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC).

The declaration of emergency endorsement was approved by Insurance Bureau of Canada's board of directors in 2009, but not all carriers offer it

“The TIC had worked on the declaration of emergency endorsement and it was difficult to get 100% buy-in to adopt that endorsement,” said Philomena Comerford, president of TIC, an association of 21 commercial insurance brokers.

She made her remarks Wednesday at the annual members’ general meeting of the Insurance Brokers of Association (IBAO), where she was a guest speaker.

The declaration of emergency endorsement was approved by Insurance Bureau of Canada’s board of directors in 2009, but not all carriers offer it.

The endorsement is intended to ensure commercial policyholders still have coverage if insurers, brokers or policyholders are unable to conduct business – such as binding coverage, processing documents, confirming new terms or remitting premiums – due to a declared emergency, such as a pandemic, hurricane or earthquake.

It is also intended to protect brokers from errors and omissions exposure.

Philomena Comerford, president of the Toronto Insurance Conference, was a guest speaker at the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario annual general members’ meeting

TIC has asked Robert G. Harrison – president of TIC from March, 2012 through March, 2013 – to “table that issue with the IBAC executive to see whether or not there is an opportunity with the catastrophe committee to take that initiative forward,” Comerford told IBAO members Wednesday. “We were kind of running into some brick walls on getting a uniform adoption of that endorsement in the event of a disaster that coverage would continue – if there were no phones or nobody to communicate with their insurer. So we are hoping (IBAC) will be able to take that up to a higher level, having a little more ability to implement things on a national level.”

IBAO held its annual members’ general meeting at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto during the IBAO annual convention, which took place Oct. 21 through 23.

The declaration of emergency endorsement is not intended to create additional coverage, reinstate coverage for which the cancellation notice period has already expired or extend the indemnity period for any business interruption claims already in progress. It is intended to either extend the term of an expiring policy – or suspend the notice period for a pending cancellation – and to charge the policyholder on a pro-rated basis.

In addition to working on getting insurers to adopt that endorsement, TIC has also worked on climate change, impact of catastrophes and urban infrastructure resilience, said Comerford, president and chief executive officer of Baird MacGregor Insurance Brokers LP and its affiliate, Hargraft Schofield LP.

TIC has scheduled its annual black tie dinner Nov. 5 in Toronto and has invited former Ontario Premier Bob Rae as a guest speaker.

TIC has a tax advocacy committee, noted Comerford, whose term as TIC president continues until next March. The tax advocacy committee itemizes coverages that are not currently available from Canadian licenced insurers – and coverages available from Canadian licenced insurers but only in a limited context – and updates those lists annually, added Comerford, who was chair of the Insurance Institute of Canada in 1994-95.

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