Every licensed real estate broker and salesperson in Ontario must have Errors & Omission Insurance to protect the public and themselves from lawsuits from errors. I agree that it is needed, however the way we are charged is unfair.

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Everyone pays the same fee – $475 per year. That’s whether you do one deal or 50, it’s the same old thing – the more successful riding on the backs of the less successful. For example, I am a small one-man independent brokerage. In 2019 I only had three sales – that works out to $158.33 per sale for insurance.

In 2020 I had one small sale. My gross commission was $3,000 and out of that I paid $475 for insurance.

That’s not fair. The insurance fee should be set on a pay-per-use basis on a sliding scale. For example, if you list a property the real estate board would charge a fee of $25. When the listing was sold you would pay another $25. There could be a sliding scale – if you did one to 10 transactions you pay $25 for each side. The next group that made 11 to 20 sales a year would pay $50 each side and so on based on each individual’s sales performance.

John Thurman, Broker
Byron Village Realty Inc.
London, Ont.


  1. Only a $475. premium for E. & O. insurance? It’s much more for home inspectors and multiple thousands for appraisers.

    Here’s how it should work:

    Everyone pays a set rate from day one on the job. Those who transact many deals without claims gradually see their rates go down. Those who conduct few deals with no claims see their rates stabilize. Those who conduct many deals with one claim see their rates increase by 100% for a first-time claim; 200% for a second claim, and 500% for a third claim, whereby they should be thrown out of the business. Those who conduct few deals with one claim get hit with a 500% premium increase.

    Use E. & O. premiums to weed out the bad apples, the incompetents and, the forever-amateur-hour try-out artists.

  2. John Thurman’s letter sure got attention! Understandably, some consider the premium as a cost of doing business, and just do more business and the premium will seem inconsequential. Indeed and obviously it is no surprise the quick response is on the volume of business suggesting a part timer. Many find that unappealing!

    Yet John Thurman has a perspective deserving more not dismissive debate.

    Insurance is about risk management. While perhaps the current premium seems inconsequential, in reality those who conduct many transactions have statistically greater chance of a situation to which the insurer would have to respond. In that context, premiums should also multiply.

    And there may be value in an experience rating system fir claims and premiums.

  3. Sorry Mr Thurman, you’ve got it backwards. The level of coverage is what must be adjusted upwards, if you work for a firm of any size (more than 5-10 registrants) that fails – the coverage is wholly inadequate. Building a proper E & EO program -at an annual premium of MUCH more $- is a first step to boosting fees/memberships to a level that will ensure that holding a Real Estate registration IS a business and not a hobby or sideline

  4. Hi John,
    I have just ‘creeped’ you a bit to see if I could get a sense as to why you wrote this letter. If I hadn’t looked you up I would have assumed (incorrectly) that you are new (or part-timer) to the business and trying to save where you can. It seems you have been in this industry much longer than most and should have the knowledge and experience of 1,000 other realtors newer to the job. It looks to me like your ‘business model’ isn’t working and your experience means nothing. If you only did 3 sales in 2019 and 1 in 2020 it is obvious that you aren’t in this business to make money or even work full time. If after 37 years in the business you aren’t busier then you have ever been then shame on you. You obviously haven’t served your past clients correctly or your business would be booming and a $475 insurance fee is just another write-off wouldn’t be your biggest issue….

    • That’s a very nasty response, Wendy. Shame on you for the belittling comment and negative tone towards a fellow Realtor. Unbelievable.

    • Take it easy Wendy. If you are going to “investigate” all registrants who are not a “Superstar” such as yourself you will be very busy. Keep in mind that on the Toronto Board alone more than 25,000 agents failed to register a single sale last year.

      Mr Thurman’s letter was civil and expressed a point of view you may not agree with, no need for the vitriol. Be nice to those on the way up mame, it gets tough on the way down.

  5. It’s no different when everyone pays city property taxes and you live in a condo that charges you snow removal and garage pickup but you still pay that in your taxes. It helps everyone. I always hear the same complains of agents who are unsuccessful who want the successful ones to pay more. I work my ass off to be where I am. It’s not free or easy.

  6. Hi John: Just because you are not producing should not negate you from paying your dues. I see that you are reducing commission below standard practice. Then why are you not reaping in the clients? You should have tons of clients. Fair is fair. I am not a top producer anymore, but that is by choice, and does not give me the right to ride on the coat tails of others. Anyone can be successful in this business if they put their all in it. Maybe it’s time for you to retire especially since it looks like you are using real estate to claim a loss.


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