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Navigating Liability Claims


Whether it is Santa getting injured while coming down your chimney, one of the reindeer spraining an ankle slipping on a poorly cleared sidewalk or a case of wide-spread food poisoning to your neighbors due to some Christmas baking gone wrong, liability risks are all around us.  Let me be the first to fill your holiday season with joy this year!

In the insurance industry, the likelihood of insurance claims is categorized by two main categories – frequency and severity.  Frequent claims, like stone chips or windshield replacement, are expected and predictable and insurers rely heavily on actuarial data to insure them. Severity claims or large and complex liability claims or lawsuits, against individuals or businesses, are less frequent in Canada than in other parts of the world, which leaves most people unsure how to navigate these situations.

In the spirit of giving this holiday season, let us give you a few suggestions on how to navigate a liability situation should one occur:

First of all, if the situation is a fluent situation where further damage or injury could occur, you need to do everything that you can to stop the situation from getting worse.

Second, do not, under any circumstances, admit liability or accept responsibility for the situation. In doing so, you may jeopardize your insurance coverage. Insurers could deny coverage based on your admission.  Liability insurance covers negligence; negligence indicates lack of intent or awareness; but it may still cause harm and your liability policy is there to protect both you and the third party as a result of unintentional negligence.

Third, report the situation immediately to your broker and insurer.  This will start the process of getting your insurer in contact with you and direct you on what to say and how to proceed with the situation.

Fourth, document all of the details that you can, include photos and diagrams of the situation, and obtain a written statement and contact information from people that may have witnessed the situation.  Keeping thorough documentation of the situation will help you to recollect the details.

Finally, cooperation with your insurer is the best way to ensure that your situation will be resolved in the cleanest way possible.  Depending on the details of your situation, some complex liability claims drag on for years, but following these five points will give you the best chance to navigate the situation as efficiently as possible.

Now that we’ve filled your heart with cheer, we also want to remind you of our annual giveaway. We love to give back to the communities we serve, and are doing so again this year.  Visit our website at for details on our Season of Giving draw.

On behalf of the team at Rempel Insurance Brokers, we wish you a Merry Christmas and hope you make great memories with people you love this season.

Be sure to seek advice and purchase insurance from those who understand your business!

David Schmidt is an Account Executive and Rempel Insurance Brokers in Morris, MB, specializing in insuring farms and businesses across Manitoba and Saskatchewan. 

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