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Village Canadien Housing Co‑operative

Good Practices in Reducing Insurance Costs

Who We Are

Village Canadien consists of 223 apartment and townhouse units on two sites in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Our Story

When the Co‑operative Housing Federation of Canada revised its commercial insurance program with the Co‑operators, introducing surcharges for housing co‑ops with large or frequent claims, our co‑op saw our premiums jump significantly. In 2010, our insurance costs increased again due to a fire we experienced in 2006. Although our rates would have gone down the following year, after five years without a claim, the jump prompted us to contact our insurance agent, who reviewed the property with us. It was not apparent from looking at the policy, but our apartment building had been listed as wood-frame construction. It is actually concrete, which is cheaper to insure. The agent was able to identify that there was a problem just by looking at what was being charged. The agent was also able to identify potential electrical problems by looking for hot spots with an infrared sensor.

We considered increasing the deductible but, given that our claims had been infrequent but high, we decided it was better to focus on reducing risk. We use our regular unit inspection process to mitigate potential hazards and claims. If we notice candles left unattended or electrical plugs that are overloaded, we will bring the problem to the attention of the member. We make sure the grounds are free of any debris that could be a fire hazard, and we circulate information from the fire department on fire prevention to the membership. We also inspect for cracks in porcelain toilets or sinks, and make sure the pipes are in good repair, to avoid water damage. We try to make sure walkways are cleared of snow and ice, and free of cracks, to avoid falls that could result in an insurance claim.

While we have not reduced our insurance deductible, we will take care of minor damage ourselves, without making a claim, if the claim will result in increased premiums that will cost us more in the long run. Our agent has given us financial information that has helped us make those decisions.

How Could We Have Done Better?

We could have had a better understanding of our insurance policy and contacted our agent sooner to understand what we were being charged for. That would have saved us money.

What Others Can Learn from the Village Canadien Story

  • Establish a relationship with your insurance agent.
  • Use ongoing maintenance to reduce risk of fire and water damage, or accidents.
  • Clear away any flammable materials or debris immediately, without waiting for the City to remove them, to avoid fire risk.


Co‑op name: Village Canadien
Location: Winnipeg, MB
Program: Section 95 and ILM
Number of Units: 223
Unit Type: Townhouses and Apartments
Date of Occupancy: 1976
Management Model: Staff