Over $1bln saved in home insurance payouts in Canada this year

by Neil Sharma on 29 Dec 2020

Home insurance claims have declined substantially in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and related mobility restrictions, says a new report.

HelloSafe estimates that $1.1 billion worth of insurance claims has been saved in Canada this year, with $439 million in Ontario alone, because strict and soft lockdown measures have meant more time spent at home.

In Ontario, incidents related to theft and burglaries—for which claims have fallen by 14.2% this year—fire and water damage—which decreased by 11.95% and 13.3%, respectively—decreased, and as a result, home insurance claims dropped by 10.67% across the province.

However, accidental damage has increased by 12.4% because, says HelloSafe’s Antoine Fruchard, spending more time at home, as most Canadians have this year, raises the likelihood of mishaps occurring.

“Indeed, our numbers show that domestic incidents increased with people spending more time at home,” said Fruchard, HelloSafe’s CEO. “All the other types of claims have gone down, whether being related to water, fire, burglary or other causes. While being home, people can prevent such events from occurring. For example, water leaks could be fixed very quickly with the families at home, when in normal times there could be hours until someone gets to the house and calls for repair work. It is therefore logical to see home insurance claims decrease all along 2020.”

That doesn’t mean the price of premiums will drop, though. Prices have risen steadily in recent years because, according to the insurance industry, severe weather events like flooding now occur with greater frequency, and even intensity. In light of insurers’ savings on claim payouts this year, premiums shouldn’t rise in 2021, and Fruchard even believes bargains could be had.

“Home insurance savings in Canada, thanks to COVID-19, should not be considered alone. Insurance savings in Canada over 2020 have been even greater in regards to car insurance and health insurance. Considering those overall savings made by the insurance industry in Canada—which amounts to billions of dollars—Canadians could be entitled to claim bargains in 2021.”

Ontario’s savings topped all Canadian provinces, followed by Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta, which respectively saved $263 million, $146.7 million and $130.4 million.

“The Greater Toronto Area accounts alone for around $200 million of the savings in payouts made over Ontario in 2020 by the home insurance industry,” said the report. “Then, the cities of Ottawa ($32.1 million saved) and Hamilton ($17.7 million) rank second and third in the ranking of cities in Ontario where home insurance savings have been the highest.”

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