Ronald Godin, New Brunswick's Consumer Advocate for Insurance, warned homeowner's insurance could spike. ((CBC))

Big hikes in homeowner premiums could be on the way, especially for those with bad credit, New Brunswick's insurance watchdog warned Monday.

Ronald Godin, the Consumer Advocate for Insurance, said a "perfect storm" might be coming where home insurance prices could spike up, like auto insurance did 10 years ago.

New Brunswick is the only province with a Consumer Advocate for Insurance, and in the six years Godin has been working for the legislature, car insurance rates have dropped and stayed stable.

But complaints about home insurance are going up fast, he said.

For one thing, damage from climate events like New Brunswick's winter rains has taken over from fire damage as the No. 1 source of insurance claims, Godin said.


Many homes in New Brunswick were flooded during heavy rains in December. ((CBC))

Last year, Co-Operators General Insurance Co. told some of its clients in New Brunswick they had to re-qualify for coverage after a check of their credit scores.

For those with bad credit, he said, the cost of insurance coverage went up by 100 per cent or more.

The former Liberal government changed the law last year to ban that practice, but  there still are no written regulations to put the ban in place.

" It sounds almost like moral judgment. You know, if I pay you on time and I haven't submitted a claim, what is your problem that I'm a little late on my Visa payments?" Godin said.

He said it's a kind of discrimination to single out people with bad credit as high-risk for insurance claims.

Statistics show that young male drivers have more accidents than young females, Godin said, but nobody has ever suggested there should be different insurance rates based on gender.