Insurance comparison website Hellosafe.ca has published a new report, which found that home insurance companies in Canada have saved an estimated $1.1 billion over 2020.
The report credits this huge savings amount to the COVID-related restrictions taken across the country that have greatly reshaped Canadian homeowners’ domestic habits for most of the year.
Hellosafe.ca found that there was an overall decrease of 10.26 % in home insurance claims across Canada in 2020. The study tied this trend to the equally significant drop in domestic incidents since the beginning of the year. Hellosafe.ca suggested that many Canadians were forced to stay home – either working remotely, on furlough, or looking after children – and thus were more likely to avoid or mitigate home damages such as theft, fire, or water.
The figures gathered by Hellosafe.ca support this hypothesis. This year saw a 13.77% decrease in the number of theft and burglary incidents reported into claims received by insurers. The comparison website also estimated that fire, weather, and water damage claims have dropped by 11.83%, 11.62%, and 12.83%, respectively, in 2020.
Although homeowners’ claims have dropped this year, Hellosafe.ca estimated that accidental damages in 2020 have increased by 12.01%, because people were staying more at home.
Insurers operating in the most populous Canadian provinces unsurprisingly saved the most in terms of home insurance payouts, the study found. Ontario alone accounts for about $439 million of the savings in payouts made over Canada in 2020 (which corresponds to a 10.67% decline in claims in the province.) It is followed by Quebec with $263 million in savings to insurers, British Columbia with $146.7 million, and Alberta with $130.4 million.
Hellosafe.ca believes the considerable savings made by insurers should translate into reduced premiums for consumers.
"It seems to me that the policyholders could be entitled to expect a reduction on their premiums, if only in the face of the economic difficulties which await Canada in the months to come,” said Hellosafe.ca CEO Antoine Fruchard.
Fruchard also noted how the pandemic has led to major trends such as teleworking, which can fundamentally change the relationship between people and their housing; insurers are expected to change and adapt their policies to these emerging conditions, the chief executive remarked.