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