Latchford Mayor voices concern with rising municipal insurance rates

·2 min read

LATCHFORD – Latchford Mayor George Lefebvre has let his frustration be known when it comes to the current situation surrounding insurance for municipalities.

Municipal insurance rates have been on the rise and the matter has been a growing concern across the province.

One specific area that Lefebvre says he has an issue with is the fact that the legal system allows municipalities to be sued for accidents that occur on major highways, which he feels shouldn’t have any bearing on the municipalities.

Lefebvre says those frivolous lawsuits alone are enough to help drive up the rates when the insurance companies are forced to defend the municipalities.

A highway accident is “something that has absolutely no bearing (on us) whatsoever,” he said at Latchford council’s regular meeting on February 18.

“We all know, we’ve seen a number of these accidents recently. Two of them have occurred in Temagami on Highway 11 and they’re suing the Town of Latchford. It’s just absolutely ridiculous. Some people on an ATV (all-terrain vehicle), crossing the railroad track and caught trespassing on the pipeline and trespassing on the tracks, flipped the ATV and sued the Town of Latchford. Now where the hell is the justice in that?”

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and the province’s Attorney General have been looking into the matter of rising municipal insurance costs for the past couple of years, but actions were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One municipality reported seeing their premium increase from $120,000 to $225,000.

Englehart was among the lowest, seeing their insurance rate go up eight to nine per cent this year while the Municipality of Charlton and Dack saw an increase of 36 per cent.

Latchford clerk-treasurer Jaime Allen told The Speaker in an email message that the town’s rate increased by 13.5 per cent.

“We had to change our provider several years ago to attempt to control the increases, so (we) fully appreciate and support the effort by the other municipalities,” said Lefebvre later in an email interview.

Back at their regular meeting on January 21, Latchford council passed a resolution to support Charlton-Dack’s resolution that stands up against rising municipal insurance rates.

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker