World News – CA – Insurance companies pledge to help small businesses as pressure to deal with rate hikes increases


A group representing Canadian insurance companies has launched a team that will help small businesses find affordable coverage as rates rise during the pandemic, but critics have expressed skepticism about the move

The Insurance Bureau of Canada, an association that represents the industry, said Thursday the team will begin their work focusing on helping the hard-hit hotel sector in Ontario

The move comes after business owners and politicians raised concerns over skyrocketing commercial insurance rates and outright denial of coverage in some cases

« We have a common interest in ensuring that as many small hospitality businesses as possible in Ontario can find the insurance they need, even in times of heightened uncertainty and risk, » Don Forgeron said in a statement

The insurance office said the new team, which will start work next month, will assess the needs of businesses and find them suitable coverage

Premier Doug Ford twice warned the insurance industry last week that it could face possible regulation if it does not help businesses

The Ontario government said Ford and Finance Minister Rod Phillips held a conference call with insurance executives last week to urge them to take action

Phillips’ office said he told businesses the government wanted to work with them, but needed to protect small businesses

Ontario does not currently regulate commercial insurance, something the Progressive Conservative government said last week it had not ruled out

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has said she doubts the new measure will help businesses and has also raised questions about its timing – just days after Ford threatened to regulate

The NDP has called for tough rules for the insurance industry to avoid what it sees as a consumer scam

« I guess they are trying to pass themselves off as good actors and maybe appease the prime minister, » she said

Green Party leader Mike Scheiner said he didn’t think the insurance industry’s move was enough

« Many small businesses are upset that for years they paid their premiums and then their business interruption insurance claims were denied during COVID, » he said « I think their business was cut short in the spring »

Liberal House Leader John Fraser has called on the government to take further action to bring commercial insurance rates under control without delay

« The longer you wait, the more people suffer », he said « And we are currently in a situation where businesses are suffering »

Insurance, Small Business

World news – CA – Insurance companies pledge to help small businesses as pressure to deal with rate hikes increases
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