Over the past few months Albertans have been gearing up for more upcoming changes in the next stage of the Property Amendment Act effective January 2020. Arguably the most discussed update in the industry is the standard insurable unit description, and how this new bylaw requirement will affect condominiums and their insurance process. Our team at Normac is committed to providing the education, resources, and service to assist condominium boards with this new regulation.
What exactly is the Standard Insurable Unit Description?
The standard insurable unit description is a way for the boards to clearly document what is covered under the corporation’s insurance and what is an improvement that must be covered by an owner, for any particular unit. Service Alberta defines this document as a description that is either provided to purchasers by a developer or adopted by the corporation, that includes and outlines an inventory of the typical standard fixtures and finishing in a residential unit or a class of units. It is the responsibility of the condominium corporation to obtain insurance covering the unimproved or “standard” unit based on this description. Insurance for any improvements to the unit is the responsibility of the owner unless clearly stated otherwise in existing condominium bylaws. The corporation must also define how many classes of units will be documented and, in the case of older properties, what the unit classes should include in terms of these fixtures and finishes. Once documented, the Standard Insurable Unit Descriptions must be voted in to the corporations’ bylaws. As the purpose of this bylaw addition is to limit disputes between owners and the corporation, it is important that this description be handled with diligence and is completed in detail to best protect all parties. It is also important to consider how the description is written for the corporation and the language used – as it must be clear, consistent, and comprehensive in the cases where the description is needed or challenged
How and when should we complete our Standard Insurable Unit Description?
According to the Act, the bylaw must be passed before the corporation’s first insurance renewal after January 2020. Many corporations have taken the opportunity to begin planning for this regulation and seeking information and resources on how they may be able to complete these descriptions ahead of time. We recommend that all condominiums begin preparing and acquiring information and resources to have these documents completed as soon as possible.
At Normac, we have been completing insurance appraisal across Canada for over 20 years now and have always included the standard insurable unit breakdown as part of our appraisal reports. With this new requirement by the Act in place, we have the expertise and skill-set and are uniquely positioned to assist condo boards with defining their standard insurable units. We offer a turn key solution that that will allow condo boards to focus on other areas required of them, while we take on the heavy-lifting of standard insurable unit definitions. We are committed to helping all our clients with this breakout description and will continue to work with other interest groups in industry such as legal practitioners, property managers, and insurance brokers collectively to ensure we are consistently offer the best solution for your condominium.