IBC tackles property valuation

The industry is one step closer to more accurate home valuations thanks to a two-fold initiative launched by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

IBC released their Best Practice Guidelines for Insurers and launched a web-based consumer education campaign. Both initiatives are aimed at improving the accuracy of the property valuation process for home insurance.

“Accurate home valuation is a complex problem that has troubled the industry for some time. With recent wildfires in Nova Scotia and British Columbia, and the tornado that struck Vaughan last summer, it became a priority issue,” said Barb Sulzenko-Laurie. “The initiatives launched today are important first steps in tackling the problem.”

IBC’s initiatives are the result of months of work by a working group, consisting of insurers, brokers and agents, and also involved consultations with property appraisers and property valuation software vendors.

The Best Practice Guidelines for Insurers give practical advice about the roles and responsibilities of insurers and their expectations of other principal stakeholders in the habitational valuation process. Insurers will find precise information on the use of software tools, training issues and other topics that are critical to the accurate estimation of replacement value.

The web-based campaign highlights the importance of consumers having basic knowledge about their homes.

“Many homeowners are unaware of the factors that affect their home’s replacement value. The materials fill the information gap and encourage consumers to talk to their insurance provider,” said Sulzenko-Laurie. “Focus groups were very receptive to the campaign and responded well to messaging.”

Animated banners on HGTV.ca, styleathome.com and metronews.ca will direct consumers to IBC’s website, where consumers will find FAQs about home replacement cost, and a colourful, interactive home assessment checklist.

IBC member companies and insurance representatives can access an informative policy insert and brochure to distribute to consumers. The materials provide a clear “Know Your Home” checklist to help consumers work with their brokers or agents to collect accurate home-related information.

“We know there is no panacea for this issue,” said Sulzenko-Laurie, “But we are confident that these measures are a good starting point to improve the accuracy of home valuations.”

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