Min­is­ter re­sponds to home in­sur­ance de­bate

Cape Breton Post - - OUR COMMUNITY -

GLACE BAY — Nova Sco­tia Fi­nance Min­is­ter Gra­ham Steele says the gov­ern­ment isn’t in the busi­ness of reg­u­lat­ing home in­sur­ance.

“There’s not go­ing to be a reg­u­la­tory re­sponse to the is­sue in Glace Bay and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” said Steele. “I’m con­fi­dent as the min­is­ter for the In­sur­ance Act that there is not a broad based is­sue in a com­plete lack of avail­able in­sur­ance.”

Res­i­dents in Glace Bay are up­set that their in­sur­ance poli­cies which they have had for 25-30 years with the Co-op­er­a­tors Gen­eral In­sur­ance Com­pany have been can­celled.

Of­fi­cials with the Co-op­er­a­tors have stated 1,600 home­own­ers in com­mu­ni­ties in­clud­ing Glace Bay, New Water­ford and North Syd­ney, have or will soon re­ceive no­tices stat­ing they must reap­ply and qual- ify for in­sur­ance with the com­pany.

Re-qual­i­fi­ca­tion could re­quire elec­tri­cal and wood heat in­spec­tions, build­ing val­u­a­tions and/or lim­ited cov­er­age and de­ductible op­tions.

Dur­ing a re­cent ed­i­to­rial meet­ing at the Cape Bre­ton Post, Steele ac­knowl­edged there has been a prob­lem with fires in Glace Bay and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. He said the ba­sic premise of in­sur­ance is to pre­dict such things as fires, but in Glace Bay the num­ber of fires are ‘way up’ from pre­dic­tions.

Part of the so­lu­tion is for the Cape Bre­ton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity, fire ser­vice, pro­vin­cial fire mar­shal and in­sur­ance com­pa­nies to form a task force to deal with the is­sue head on, he added.

"I think if they can show that there was a con­certed com­mu­nity ef­fort to deal with the is­sue that would pro­vide some re­as­sur­ance to the in­sur­ers that they needn’t fear un­usu­ally high losses if they stayed in the com­mu­nity.”

Glace Bay MLA Dave Wil­son met with the min­is­ter over this is­sue.

Wil­son said the min­is­ter’s main con­cern is en­sur­ing res­i­dents have house in­sur­ance.

“The min­is­ter has been as­sured by the in­sur­ance bro­kers as­so­ci­a­tion there will be in­sur­ance avail­able in Glace Bay.”

Wil­son said bot­tom line, home in­sur­ance is not reg­u­lated.

“It is not cov­ered in the In­sur­ance Act. In or­der to drive a car you have to have in­sur­ance, but you can own a house and you don’t have to in­sure it.”

The Glace Bay Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment re­sponded to ap­prox­i­mately 60 struc­ture fires in 2009.

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