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At first glance, James Arnold looks like an insurance company’s dream client. The Richmond, B.C., resident has owned his current home for more than two decades, has been with the same insurance company for almost 20 years, and in all those years had never made a claim. At least, not until recently when a tree fell on his property, clipping his detached garage and ripping the power lines right off his home. “It was a small claim,” he says, “at a cost of only $3,000 after the deductible.”

Arnold wasn’t naive. After the claim was settled he knew his home insurance rates would rise, but the 15% hike in his rates was far more than he anticipated. It was particularly hard given that Arnold, along with many of his neighbours, had already been subject to a recent policy-wide 7.5% rate increase the year before and a 6.5% premium increase the year before that. All told, Arnold saw his home insurance payments jump up by almost one-third in just three years. “When I shopped around, I found that rates had gone up everywhere,” he says…

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