Iqaluit condo owners see sharp rise in commercial insurance premiums

Insurance companies being scared out of the city largely contributes to the increase

Iqaluit condo owners see sharp rise in commercial insurance premiums

Tough market conditions have driven commercial insurance premiums on Iqaluit condominiums through the roof, adding to the burden of condo owners, many of whom are already experiencing financial hardships brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

The sharp rise in commercial insurance costs is largely a result of what local insurance brokers said, “insurance companies being scared out of the city by [catastrophes, including] structural fires and the effects of climate change.”

Already, condo owners said that their premiums have more than doubled in the past few years. In 2016, for instance, the commercial insurance for a 10-unit condo was about $18,000. This year, the cost exceeds $50,000, which is a 178% jump in just half a decade.

Read more: CMHC: Stronger economy to fuel housing demand in Yellowknife, Whitehorse

Many owners fear being squeezed out of homeownership if the trend continues, while local officials are concerned the situation would, in turn, worsen the city’s housing crisis.

In an interview with Nunatsiaq News, Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell said that housing is a big area of concern in the city. “Housing is a huge issue here, there’s a major lack of housing. So, any time we can provide lower-cost units for people starting out, that’s really important,” he said.

“Some professionals making $100,000 a year are couch surfing or unable to afford the increasing rents. That puts those who are most vulnerable for housing at even greater risk, as it pushes them further outside the market.

“And if lower-cost homeownership is squeezed in Iqaluit, that means less tax revenue for the city and even more challenges for the Government of Nunavut’s efforts to move employees out of staff housing.”

In its most recent annual report, the Nunavut Housing Corporation said the private housing market in Nunavut is “extremely limited,” contributing to more than half of the territory’s population being housed in public housing.

“To ensure sufficient affordable housing … there needs to be a diversity of housing options—a continuum of housing from emergency shelter to homeownership,” the report said.