There is good news for snow removal companies in Ontario. The Occupiers Liability Act was amended on December 8, 2020. Claimants now have 60 days to provide written notice of a slip and fall claim. Previously, the notification period was two years.
It’s hard to say what the immediate effects of this bill will be. However, brokers in Ontario are optimistic that this will make it easier for small to mid-sized snow removal companies to secure insurance for their businesses.
Owners of snow removal companies should note there are a few exception to this amendment:
- If the injury resulted in death
- If there is a reasonable reason the claimant could not give notice in 60 days
Why is it so hard for snow removal companies to find insurance?
In the event of a slip and fall incident, a snow removal company may be on the hook for damages. Slip and fall cases can result in substantial settlements. Historically, defending these claims has been very difficult, leading to frequent and severe claims. This means snow removal companies have been unattractive to insurance companies. With this change to the law, brokers across Ontario are hopeful insurance companies will be more willing to take on this risk.
Tips for snow removal companies from a broker
Many factors are outside of the business owner’s control, but there are some things business owners can do to minimize risk. Commercial Lines advisor Sharmarke Jama from our Toronto branch has some tips:
- Create and maintain a snow removal log. Record start and end times, the details of the work and who completed the work. There are many digital options that make it easy to keep track of these details. If you’re not tech-savvy, a hand written log is better than nothing!
- Always take before and after photos.
- You might also want to consider installing a dash cam. A dash cam is mounted on your dashboard or windshield. They record the view through your windshield and can provide evidence in the event of an accident. Some dash cams only record your front windshield. More advanced dash cams will record a 360-degree view around your vehicle. You can purchase dash cams at electronics stores such as Best Buy.
- Create a standardized and clearly worded contract. Clearly define the scope of the work. A loosely worded contract can result in liability being disputed between the snow removal operation and the property owner.
Contact BrokerLink for insurance for your snow removal company
Being a business owner can be stressful. Your snow removal insurance doesn’t have to be. A BrokerLink Commercial Insurance Broker will take the time to get to know your business and understand the unique risks you could face. Together, you and your broker will come up with an insurance plan that makes sense for your snow removal business.
Find a commercial broker on our directory
Business snow removal insurance in Ontario FAQs
How will Ontario’s Bill 118 impact snow removal insurance buyers?
Bill 118 means claimants of slip and fall accidents now have 60 days to provide written notice of a claim. Previously, claimants had two years. This law came into effect on December 8, 2020. It’s too early to say exactly what the impact would be. Insurance brokers are hopeful this will make it easier for snow removal business owners to find more affordable insurance.
Can I go to jail if my snow removal business has proven negligent in a slip and fall incident?
If your snow removal business has been proven negligent in a slip and fall incident, the claimant may be awarded a settlement. These settlements can reach six figures. Depending on the details of your insurance coverage, you may be responsible for some or all of the settlement. It is extremely unlikely you will go to jail as a result of a slip and fall incident.
How are settlements for slip and fall cases calculated?
Settlements take many different things into consideration. Some of the things considered include:
- Medical bills, including future medical expenses
- Lawyer’s fees
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anxiety
- Lost earnings