When will commercial insurers start offering insurance for commercial properties?
By: Chris Mooney, The Globe and Mail Staff WriterAllstate will offer commercial insurance to commercial property owners in 2019.
It is a key move that will provide certainty to owners of commercial properties as they prepare to leave their homes to start commercial operations, said Paul Osterholm, vice president of insurance operations.
Allstate’s decision came as the National Association of Realtors announced that it will not renew its commercial insurance agreement with Allstate, which covers commercial properties in the U.S. and Canada.
A spokesman for Allstate said the company will continue to provide its commercial insurers with financial support through 2019.
The decision to end its commercial coverage with Allstar comes as Allstate is negotiating a new, five-year commercial insurance deal with the U,K.-based reinsurer Pemco, which owns a large chunk of the insurance industry in the country.
The new commercial deal will see all insurers in Canada, the U of A., Australia and New Zealand offer commercial coverage to commercial properties, Osterhammer said.
Commercial insurance coverage covers property owners who live in commercial premises that is designed to make their homes attractive for business and leisure.
Commercial properties that are built for commercial purposes are often in urban areas, Ostersman said.
He noted that Allstate has offered commercial coverage in its residential areas for more than a decade.
“There’s no doubt commercial insurance has helped to make Allstate a trusted and respected company,” Osterstein said.
Allstate has had commercial insurance coverage in Canada since 2002, but its coverage has declined in recent years due to the cost of the program, he said.
Commercial coverage covers only the cost to maintain the property, not the maintenance of the premises.
It was announced this month that Pemcom was stepping away from commercial coverage.
Allstar’s move to offer commercial insured properties will mean more people will be able to buy commercial insurance, Ostrom said.
The Canadian reinsurer said it will be seeking to renegotiate its commercial commercial insurance contract with Allstates for 2019.
Ostrom would not speculate on when that may be.
Commercials have become an increasingly popular way to finance the construction of residential properties in Canada.
Commercials account for about one-third of the total cost of a residential property in Canada in 2019, according to the National Insurance Institute.
Commercial property owners are responsible for paying the commercial insurance portion of the transaction, and they are usually eligible to receive an insurance rebate, Oesterholm said.
“Commercial insurance is a good option for people that want to get their hands on properties for a long time and can get their property appraised fairly,” he said, adding that commercial insured property owners generally have higher property values than noncommercial property owners.
Commercial insured properties have also become more popular in Canada because they are cheaper to maintain and can be leased, said Osterheim.
In Ontario, all commercial property insurance is now available to residential properties, as well as commercial commercial properties built for business.
The government announced plans to provide commercial insurance for residential properties this year.
The provincial government is also offering a 10-year residential insurance guarantee to residential property owners, which will cover the cost for a first year of coverage.