BOW VALLEY – The Canadian Rockies Public School board is continuing to grapple with skyrocketing insurances rates leaving the division with an extra $260,000 in costs.
According to Canadian Rockies Public School (CRPS) board treasurer Mike Guindon, the 274 per cent increase is from a mixture of different sources, including a 300 per cent property insurance increase.
“The biggest cost driver was property insurance. Liability insurance went up 50 per cent, property insurance is around the 274 mark,” said Guindon.
Guindon said during the last fiscal year, CRPS paid a total of $177,300 in premiums, while this year’s increases will see them pay a total of $436,700.
“It's a $259,400 increase, which is what we estimated after we got the last per cent increase they gave us,” he said.
The rate increases are a result of claims made in the past through Alberta School Board Reciprocal Insurance Exchange (ASBIE), which is made up of many different school board divisions joined together in an insurance pool.
“If our claims are more than 50 per cent of our premiums then yes that causes an issue, and historically if it continues like the ASBIE pool, the last three years, the loss ratio was 340 per cent, and the last year was 500 per cent,” he said.
Guindon explained that the increase in claims have been made due to natural disasters, such as flooding and fires, throughout the province. While CRPS itself has only made about three per cent of the claims, because it is part of the pool its insurance is increased as well.
“Canadian Rockies itself, I calculated our loss ratio and we’re at two per cent loss ratios, so we don’t have that many claim but the pool itself was high,” he explained.
“Our highest year, we had a loss ratio of six per cent, so we’re not the ones who created what they call a 'tainted insurance pool' where a lot of other subscribers in the pool have submitted a lot of claims bumping up the loss ratio for the entire pool.”
In attempts to mitigate sky rocketing insurance percentages like these, Guindon said he’s in the midst of trying to create a different insurance pool with other boards who submit a similar percentage in claims.
“Right now across the province a bunch of school boards from previous ASBIE subscriber pool went on our own to institute our own pool and set a higher criteria, put controls in place to try to mitigate these high premiums that have been occurring here,” said Guindon.
CRPS will manage the increase this year with a surplus budget, but Guindon said the board is hopeful it’s a one-time charge.
“Well that’s an additional pretty much $260,000 and Chris put it succinctly – that’s two teachers and an education assistant position,” he said.
“We have accumulated surpluses, knowing this is going to be hopefully a one-time increase, we’re going to probably cover that from accumulated surplus … Plus this budget year we have the provincial funding that hit us as well and those combined, we have enough to cover it off for the one year.”