Liability insurance jumps 15% for SD&G

In this January 2020, file photo, SD&G CFO Rebecca Russell listens to county councillors during a meeting. The county's liability insurance has jumped 15 per cent for 2021-2022 due to what Russell says are market conditions. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

SD&G – The amount taxpayers are paying to protect the United Counties of SD&G against lawsuits has jumped 15 per cent this year.

The annual premium for liability coverage went up $23,762 to $182,227 for the upcoming year, starting July 1.

“Although I was anticipating an increase, I was actually anticipating a larger increase than 15 per cent based on other upper tier counties over the last couple of years…have seen significant increases,” CFO Rebecca Russell told county council Monday (June 21).

Russell attributes the jump to market conditions – “unprofitable insurers” have pulled out of the market, leaving fewer corporate insurance players covering more claims, leading to higher premiums.

The premium for covering cyber crimes went from $7,750 to $11,600 – a nearly 40 per cent jump. The deductibles for wrongful dismissal and employment practice liability doubled to $10,000.

“This increase is due to a significant upsurge in frequency and severity of cyber claims,” Russell said.

Acting Warden Lyle Warden asked if other insurance companies had been canvassed for quotes. They have not since 2016, Russell replied, but she says now is not the time given the pandemic.

Council passed the renewal.

Since the insurance proposal falls within half the budget year, the amount against the budget this year would be $91,113.50 (half of $182,227). Council budgeted $73,160 for 2021. That leaves an overage of $17,953.50.