Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has announced that its Business Insurance Action Team (BIAT) is ready to help to find viable insurance for small businesses in Ontario's hospitality sector struggling to find insurance because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

IBC announced the creation of BIAT in late October. This industry-driven solution brings insurers and their representatives together to help struggling small businesses in Ontario's hospitality sector – specifically restaurants, bars, pubs and banquet halls – secure insurance amid the economic challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has created.

"Small and family-run businesses in Ontario's hospitality sector are facing extraordinary challenges, and its incumbent upon all of us to try to do what we can to help," said IBC president and CEO Don Forgeron. "The hospitality industry is a major contributor to the Ontario economy, and we recognize that current pandemic-related restrictions are creating difficult economic conditions. That's why IBC and a group of insurers in Canada have come together to deploy an innovative solution to assist small businesses struggling to find insurance."

Pandemic-driven challenges taking place around the world

A recent analysis from Deloitte shows that the challenges affecting the availability of commercial insurance are global and that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has compounded this issue.

The aim of BIAT is to help as many small business owners as possible who cannot secure insurance coverage in the hospitality sector find the insurance they need.

Eligible small business owners will work with their insurance representative to submit an application to BIAT. The application will then be reviewed by a risk manager to determine eligibility and provide loss prevention recommendations. BIAT is intended as a last resort for businesses that have exhausted all other commercial insurance options. A business would not be obligated to accept coverage offered through BIAT.

The property and casualty insurance industry has provided more than $1 billion in personal and commercial insurance relief to help Canadians hurt by the pandemic, plus an additional $200 million in deferred premiums to personal and commercial customers. These figures will continue to rise over the coming months as the industry continues to support Canadians through this challenging period.