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Breaking down personal property coverage barriers between the U.S. and Canada

“Knowing personal property coverage is available for Canadians with liability concerns in the U.S. provides peace of mind to retail brokers and agents as well as their high-profile clients.”

Canadians are well-aware of the litigious tendencies of their neighbor to the south, which makes them especially concerned about the liability exposures associated with spending a lot of time, or keeping assets, in the United States.

Yet securing coverage in the U.S. for Canadian citizens historically has been difficult, if not almost impossible. Not only do carriers typically decline umbrella coverage for Canadians, they’re often reluctant to expand their policies because out of a concern that global coverage may be inferred when their intent was to provide coverage in only one country.

No one knows the problem better than Amanda Ruppel, the team leader for Burns & Wilcox Cross Border Solutions, who recently was charged with working with a Canadian broker to find coverage for a high-profile professional hockey player in Canada. Her goal with the case: to find a way around the limits often imposed on the products and services she’s able to offer her Canadian clients.

In this case, the hockey player owned a secondary high-value home along with automobiles, and spent significant time in the U.S. As a highly visible target, this pro athlete presented the usual risks that come with this type of celebrity, making him a more complicated placement.

Undeterred, Ruppel took the lead in the case, determined to find an umbrella product that could work for Canadian nationals. After contacting a host of carriers, she was able to create an exclusive product only accessible by the Burns & Wilcox cross-border team through a partnership with a large A++ rated carrier in the U.S.

The result is a monoline personal umbrella policy that only covers U.S. exposures. But just as important is the breakthrough the coverage represents for cross-border cases such as this. Knowing it’s available for Canadians with liability concerns in the U.S. provides peace of mind to retail brokers and agents as well as their high-profile clients. Ruppel says she fields similar requests almost every day. Now she has a solution to protect the assets of those with exposures not related to a primary residence.

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