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Co-Operators General Insurance Review & Complaints: Auto, Home, Life & Business Insurance

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Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best...

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UPDATED: Sep 22, 2020

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Co-Operators General Insurance
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One of the more recognizable names in the Canadian insurance industry, The Co-Operators is a full-service insurer covering both personal and commercial lines.

As a co-operative, the company is owned by its member organizations, and profits are shared with members. The Co-Operators has been running on this model successfully for over 65 years and is one of Canada’s biggest insurance companies.

Co-Operators General Summary

Co-Operators General Insurance is a part of the Co-Operators Group, which traces its roots back to Saskatchewan in 1945. The company was originally created to offer life insurance to farmers. It was founded as the Co-Operators Life Insurance Company in Regina, but spread quickly across the country, moving east into the Maritime Provinces as well as west to British Columbia.

In 1952 Co-Operative Fire & Casualty Company was founded, adding more product lines. The ensuing decades saw several other co-operative insurance companies that had been growing across the nation come together under the Co-Operators Group banner, which was created in 1978. Co-Operator’s General Insurance is the largest company in the group.

Today The Co-Operators offers one-stop shopping for insurance across Canada. In 2013 the company ranked as the second largest financial co-op in the nation.

Products available include auto, home, and life as well as business insurance and a selection of other specialty policies. They are sold through subsidiaries in the group, particularly Co-Operators General and Co-Operator’s Life Insurance Company, the original co-op.

Because not all Canadian provinces use a private insurance system, The Co-Operators does not write full auto in every province, but they do offer coverage in all private-market provinces. In some provinces they offer add-on coverage to bolster public insurance plans.

Co-Operator’s products are sold through insurance brokers, although the company does offer online quoting in some areas.

The Barbados-based insurance company of the same name is not affiliated with this Canadian insurer.

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Insurance Products

The Co-Operators writes a full range of basic personal insurance and also offers commercial coverage.

Auto Insurance

The Co-Operators writes auto insurance in all provinces except Manitoba and British Columbia. In Saskatchewan, they offer extension coverage to add to the public insurance plan required by law, and in Quebec they write the portion of the auto insurance not covered by the public injury liability plan.

In all other provinces, they offer full auto insurance including third-party liability, comprehensive, collision, roadside assistance, and other optional add-ons including accident forgiveness.

The Co-Operators has a usage-based auto insurance program called “en-route”. The system promises up to a 25% premium reductions based on data collected through a wireless device in the vehicle. There is a 5% discount automatically applied when signing up for the program, with the opportunity for greater discounts. The company was only the second to offer this type of program to Ontario drivers, putting them at the forefront of new technology.

Home Insurance

Co-Operators General offers all of the most common types of home insurance. This includes standard homeowners, condominium coverage, renters insurance (also called tenant insurance), and specialty dwelling coverage.

Homeowner’s insurance is available at three levels of coverage:

  • Classic – The most basic coverage and has the lowest rates
  • Prestige – Offers more features and benefits and is the standard policy for most single-family homes
  • Prestige Plus – Designed for high-value homes

Among the specialty policies available are options for seasonal homes, mobile homes, and rental properties.

The Co-Operators offers a range of add-on features for home insurance, including comprehensive coverage for home-based businesses.

Additional Products

Life Insurance

The Co-operators sells a full range of life insurance products. Term, whole, and universal are all available options.

The Versatile Term policy is available in terms ranging from 10 to 30 years, and can be converted to permanent insurance any time before the insured hits the age of 70.

Also available are Critical Illness insurance, Mortgage Protection life insurance, and Business Life insurance policies.

Business Insurance

The Co-Operators writes small business insurance policies to cover a range of industries, including farms. Among the coverage choices available are:

  • Buildings, contents, and stock
  • Equipment breakdown
  • Liability
  • Crimes coverage
  • Package policies

Travel Insurance

The Co-Operators offers travel insurance policies that are underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance – part of the Co-Operators Group – and administered by major travel insurer Allianz.

Plans include coverage for Canadians abroad, visitors to Canada, students, and Canadian expatriates.

Co-Operators General Rates

Although The Co-Operators does offer online quotes for auto insurance, we are unable to provide a price comparison, as they do not write coverage in either of our usual comparison areas.

Rates differ across Canada based on the type of coverage required by law and by province. The Co-Operators may be more competitive in some markets than in others, but the best way to determine that is to obtain multiple quotes in your province for comparison.

Claims

The Co-Operators has three main ways to submit a claim.

New auto, property, commercial, and farm insurance claims can be made over the phone toll-free at 1-800-NU-CLAIM (1-800-682-5246). This is the line for all provinces except Quebec, which has its own claims line at 1-877-594-2667.

Claims can also be filed through a Co-Operators financial advisor, agent, or broker.

Finally, there is also an online clams option, and claims forms can be downloaded from the website.

Claims for group plans and travel plans are handled through a different claims department.

The Co-Operators Enhanced Service Partner Program is the company’s direct repair network. Repair shops in this network offer guarantees on their work and interact directly with the claims department for faster service. Customers are welcome to select their own repair shop if they choose not to use a partner shop.

The company has claims offices across the country for local service.

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Consumer Research and Complaints

Finding The Co-Operators on the Better Business Bureau is something of a confusing challenge. There are multiple offices across the country each with a separate record, and we were unable to locate one that appears to represent the company’s head office.

Across the board, however, the Co-Operators BBB (one example) reports we pulled up are positive, with A+ ratings for their satellite offices and few to no complaints in most cases.

There are a few complaints out there, but not very many of them considering the size of the company. Overall, the complaint volume is very low and there are no red flags detected in the reviews.

Financial Strength

Rating Company Grade Financial Outlook
AM Best A- Stable
Fitch N/A N/A
S&P A- Positive

Bottom Line

The Co-Operators is a strong company with a good reputation and a wide range of products. As one of Canada’s biggest and most respected companies, they are well worth adding to your list when comparing insurance rates.

Their auto insurance program offers a good blend of solid basics and on-trend features that are likely to appeal to those in private insurance provinces. This is particularly true in Ontario where insurance rates are traditionally higher than elsewhere, and a 25% discount for usage-based coverage could make a big dent in premiums.

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About Eric Stauffer

Author: Eric StaufferI am a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. My priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

5 Comments

  1. We recently renewed our policy with no problems but then out of the blue, Co-operators contacts us and says then require photos of my home including the interior.

    This was not disclosed when we renewed our contract. Now they are demanding photos.

    I don’t mind providing exterior photos, nor do I mind allowing them into my home for the inspection, (as per my insurance contract) but I draw the line as to my family’s privacy.

    This is what I got from Co-operators as a response to not allowing them to take photo’s inside my home:

    Hi Julie,

    When I previously referred you to the section in your policy wordings regarding The Co-operators right to request a home inspection at any reasonable time (please see email sent on Dec 18th, 2019), it is within our company’s internal guidelines that home inspections include photographs (both interior and exterior). It is your choice to not allow us to take photographs of the interior of your home; that is why we also give you the opportunity to take the photographs yourself and have them uploaded to your policy file. If you decide you don’t want to take the photographs yourself, then you are putting your home policy at an underwriting risk.

    I have spoken to an underwriter this morning about your case and was informed that photographs of the interior and exterior are mandatory aspects of any home inspection and that if the photographs are refused then, according to internal guidelines, The Co-operators will have no choice but to proceed with cancellation of your home insurance policy. Unlike auto insurance, which is regulated by the government, home insurance can be cancelled at anytime for any reason, as long as the reason is clearly indicated in an official letter sent to our clients. A cancellation letter for your home insurance policy will be sent out to you by mail, stipulating the same reasons for cancellation as indicated to you in this email.

    If you change your mind and allow photographs of the interior to be taken (by you or someone from our office), please let me know and we can rescind the policy cancellation. The letter is being sent out today and you have up to 15 days (plus 5 days of mailing time) from today until your policy is officially cancelled (unless you notify us of a change of your decision).

    Thank you,

    Mark

    At no time where we informed that photos of the interior were required until after the paperwork was signed.

    It’s not on their website nor our contract.

    They can terminate the contract and they also lost all my business including the rental properties I own.

    Reply
  2. Hi, my name is Tim. Until three years ago I was paying $15-$20.000 a year for all my insurances combined, including business, home, auto, and life, for 20 plus years.

    3 yrs ago, my life insurance which I’ve paid faithfully for 20 yrs @ $ 96.00 per month.

    2 months prior to renewal, the send a notice to my ex-wife stating rates were going up.

    Nothing at all to me. Overnite my rate went from $ 96.00 to $600.00.

    After my ex-wife notified me I called the bank to stop future payments ( until I could go in).

    They put forth a debit though my account for the $ 600.00 and bank missed it.

    The bank did take it back for me, but my point is they are in my opinion the most disrespectful and dishonest company I’ve ever dealt with.

    They would not explain their reasoning nor were interested in talking to me.

    I canceled all the other policies I had with them at that time. Now 55yrs old and no life insurance at all.

    Seems so very wrong that they can get away with this type of thing. Yes, it’s been 3 yrs and I am still pissed.

    I know this is an older thread and probably won’t be read, but in the event that I could save someone from first of all giving them money but also to save anguish, you will eventually endure.

    Reply
  3. We had insurance for a condo for 9 years with Co-operative and never made a claim.

    The property changed ownership and we contacted Co-operative.

    My father went down to pay for the insurance company and was told he could not do so.

    He wanted to talk to the “supervisor” but was told, “he only dealt with company insurance”.

    Since I am living out of the country (temporarily) I spoke to a person who apparently worked as their call center, told us things would be processed.

    My father went again was given the runaround. He was told he needed the deed.

    I spoke again to the same lady, and again did not know she was a call center person, she represented herself as part of the company saying it will be processed through another department.

    He went to the insurance building to pay for us and again was given more run around.

    Finally, about a month after we started this “supervisor” (remain nameless for now) said my son had to be on the line at the exact time my father was in the insurance building for him.

    We agree we would my son would pay but he needed to see the paperwork,

    My father made another trip with it and tried to speak to this “supervisor” but he was “too busy”.

    A week later, believing this is finally taken care of, this “supervisor” called and said he was not going to insurance it because of “American risk”.

    We are Canadians, temporarily living in the States. Not impressed with this insurance company and not with this newly appointed “supervisor”

    Reply
  4. After being a client for 12 years we switched companies as the new company was charging a $1000 less per year and gave us more coverage. We tried to stay with co-operators and they refused to negotiate. Then they charged us a $300 cancelation fee. They have zero accountability for their clients. They have a customer service number that goes un-answered, In order to get a call back I left a message, wrote an email and posted a bad review.. I had to demand the brokerage get the head office to call me back. The women that called back had zero empathy and lied to me. She told me numerous times that every company charges a cancelation fee for personal insurance. After I gave her two examples of companies that don’t she started staying I am glad you found a company you are happy with on repeat until she hung up on me. Fuming they treat long term customers like this

    Reply
  5. Very helpful concise and to the point

    Reply

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