When I wrote this message last year, the economy was in a precarious state. We were concerned about the number of homes that would be enrolled with Tarion and the potential for builders to face financial difficulties or find themselves unable or unwilling to meet their new home warranty obligations. If sustained over time, these issues could negatively impact the viability of the Guarantee Fund that we use to pay claims.
Fortunately, new home enrolments exceeded our budgeted projections, rising 10 per cent over the last year, and homeowner claims remained at manageable levels. I am pleased to report that Tarion continued to make progress in its goal of being helpful and efficient in the oversight of warranty coverage while ensuring all parties receive fair treatment. Builders assisted us in this effort by maintaining customer service levels despite the difficult economy. We thought there may be an increase in claims activity if they were forced to cut back on staff, but most weathered the storm with few, if any, noticeable service issues. Tarion sought to improve its customer service through the introduction of a service excellence initiative called the Tarion Way which brings a common approach to the customer service we deliver to our stakeholders.
In 2010, we also completed our first year of public consultation on proposed regulatory changes involving Tarion processes. This initiative was recommended by the Regulatory Affairs Committee as a way to make policy development more collaborative and transparent. As Chair of this committee, I can confirm that the feedback we collected was used to improve the three policies that were consulted on and implemented over the past year.
As part of our commitment to operate in accordance with best practices in corporate governance and continuously improve, the Tarion Board of Directors conducted an annual self assessment once again last year. This was done under the direction of an independent governance professional and it included evaluations of the Board and Committee Chairs. The results confirmed that the Board is in a strong position to confidently provide future leadership and strategic direction to Tarion. As in past years, the information gathered provided useful input about areas that would benefit from improvement and indicated that feedback gathered in past years has improved the performance of individual members and the Board as a whole.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank outgoing Board Members Scott Cameron, President, Cameron Stephens Mortgage Capital Ltd., Bob Ridley, former President Building Better Home Builders and Peter Smith, President, Andrin Homes Limited as well as Associate Member James Bazely, President, Gregor Homes for the valuable contributions they made throughout their tenure. In addition, I would like to welcome new Board members Sandy Ewen, Vice President Developer Solutions, Lombard Canada and Frank Giannone, President Fram Building Group as well as our two new associate members Lea Ray and Bob Finnigan, Vice President, Heathwood Group of Companies.
When I look back over the last two years, I am quite amazed at the resilience and flexibility shown by Tarion employees despite facing the enormous uncertainties posed by a challenging economy. I am also proud of how much we have changed as an organization and the way we have used these difficulties to become more efficient and flexible in the way we serve our stakeholders. I would like to express my gratitude to Tarion President & CEO Howard Bogach, his Corporate Leadership Team and all of our employees for their hard work and dedication. I would also like to thank my fellow Board of Directors for the leadership and direction they provided.
I look forward to working with all of you again next year as we plan for the future and continue to make Tarion the best organization it can be.