ID
2020-011

Type
Supervision
Sector
Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector
Status
Public comment closed
Date
Comment Due Date

Thank you for providing your feedback on FSRA’s Proposed Approach for the Fair Treatment of Consumers.

We appreciate the comments and questions received to date. Your feedback will help to inform our final approach.

The request for submissions is now closed.

Learn more about this consultation

FSRA is proposing that insurance licensees in the province follow the Fair Treatment of Customers guidance created by Canada’s insurance regulatory associations, CCIR and CISRO. This proposed guidance would apply to all insurance licensees in the home, life, health and auto insurance sectors. The mortgage brokering, credit union, and loan and trust sectors will continue to follow the Treating Financial Services Consumers Fairly guidance, created by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), now inherited by FSRA.

The new approach applies existing national and provincial guidelines, and provides clarity for insurance agents and companies to help better serve consumers. Consumers can continue to expect that insurance licensees act ethically and in good faith, in accordance with the national guideline.

FSRA is a member of CCIR, the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators, and CISRO, the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations. One of the goals of both national organizations is to ensure a consistent approach to consumer protection and common regulatory issues.

Useful Link

#By submitting your content, you agree to have your materials posted on our engagement portal, used in reports and other materials prepared by Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) that may be shared with the public. Content is moderated so that all posts are respectful and professional. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.F.31, applies to all online content.

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Sector Comment Date posted Sort ascending
Auto Insurance Sector
[2020-011 ] Sam Palmerio - Desjardins
Please find the comments of Desjardins attached.
October 22, 2020
Auto Insurance Sector
[2020-011 ] Catherine Allman - Canadian Association of Direct Relationship Insurers
Please find attached CADRI’s submission to FSRA supporting its decision to adopt the CCIR/CISRO Guidance on Fair Treatment of Customers.
Harmonization across Canada, in conformity with international standards, ensures that the standards are universally understood and cost-effectively implemented.

October 22, 2020
Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector
[2020-011 ] Brent Mizzen - Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association
Attached please find CLHIA's comments on A Common Approach to Treating Insurance Customers Fairly
October 22, 2020
Other
[2020-011 ] John Taylor - Ontario Mutual Insurance Association

October 22, 2020
Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector
[2020-011 ] Susan Allemang - Independent Financial Brokers of Canada
Please see IFB's response attached.
October 21, 2020
[2020-011 ] Ryan Stein - Insurance Bureau of Canada
Good evening,

Attached is Insurance Bureau of Canada's response to FSRA's consultation on a common approach to treating insurance customers fairly.

Regards,

Ryan
October 20, 2020
Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector
[2020-011 ] Tim Hyde
Section 1 of the Insurance Act defines "agent" to include a person that "[s]olicits insurance on behalf of an insurer or transmits, for a person other than itself, an application for, or a policy of insurance to or from such insurer, or offers or assumes to act in the negotiation of such insurance or in negotiating its continuance or renewal with such insurer".
On every home purchase closed in Ontario today lawyers act as insurance agents for title insurers. Not only are lawyers acting as unlicensed insurance agents they are paid commissions. The insurers rebate between 15% and 30% of the premium paid by consumers to these unlicensed agents. Secret commissions to unlicensed agents cost the public approximately $40M/year.
Consumers should expect that insurance licensees – and those unlicensed but acting as licensees - act ethically and in good faith, in accordance with the national guideline.

October 14, 2020
Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector
[2020-011 ] Ali Middle Name Akhbari - PRIMERICA
With having the full respect to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario, I am admitting & admitted to always try my best to treat the customers or consumers with the most professional & appropriate ethical approach; however, through the Covid-19 process & the related causing problems, no sales has happened yet in the Life Insurance part since I've become a licensed agent - the only small sale that I had, was me working online as a referring agent for Surex Insurance that ended up with the $80.00 small amount of sales commission after a long & persistent trying that is posted in my PRIMERICA Online Account; therefore, making a more widespread comment as an expert in Life Insurance sales, wouldn't be quite honest or helpful for the Financial Industries of Ontario - however, I am trying to learn how I could possibly sell a life insurance policy online in the current situation that consumers hesitate to meet any Life Insurance Agent in person at the kitchen table of their residence. I thank you all for letting me to get involved in this important financial research & feedback as a new life licensed agent in the baby steps.
September 29, 2020
Financial Planners and Advisors Sector
[2020-011 ] Clay Gillespie - RGF Integrated Wealth Management
Letter attached.

Thanks,
Clay Gillespie
Managing Director

September 29, 2020
Financial Planners and Advisors Sector
[2020-011 ] Anonymous
We need to regulate direct to consumer, without an advisor sells.

Programs like the CPA, Manulife website https://www1.manulife.com/can/affinity/insurance.nsf/quote?open&as=cpao&pd=tl&app=m

This sites quotes Term insurance without letting the client know how long the term is. It's a 5 year banded rate. I had a client looking for term 20 and though he got a better plan there and sign up. Is rate will be up over 450% by the end of his term (first increase in 4 months). All the effort to manage Advisor are fine, but we have a much bigger problem with these sells that bypass advisor protection and sell misleading products like this.

Other exam: Replaced a SLI (Specialty Life Insurance) bought online. Client didn't know if was deferred, didn't know it had increasing premium. Client health didn't require them to get a guaranteed products. These products are sold through the banks and insurance carriers and without an advisors, most clients don't understand what they are buying.
September 26, 2020
[2020-011 ] Chris Donnelly

September 25, 2020
Financial Planners and Advisors Sector
[2020-011 ] Joseph Cullen - HUB Financial
The overriding issue is how to encourage agents to meet with young families and young professionals, those with lower disposable incomes, and propose to them, financial and insurance solutions . The ethics standards now in place discourage entrepreneurial initiative and dedicated service because of over-extending liability for perceived omissions. Many families with genuine needs are overlooked; they naturally fall 'victim' to low/no-service automated-product distributors. This is the other side of ethics - standards must not penalize the low end of the consumer spectrum.
The solutions need to include 1) standardized industry-wide form(s) that act both to inform and limit liability. 2) A belt or band of costs and fees is needed which protect from liability if the product falls within that band, a modest band let me add. The whole objective of representing financial products is to encourage individuals to consider the merits of an insurance and savings program. Under current ethics, no trained and dedicated agent would be willing to complete a needs analysis which demands a great deal of time, then place a life insurance policy with a $20 per month of premium and at the end, be straddled with liability for years to come.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment.. I appreciate the work you are doing to make the financial world responsive and responsible.
September 24, 2020
All Sectors
[2020-011 ] Balu Naidu - Claims Tech (Canada) Inc
1. Proper disclosure of handling of customer complaints/questions/enquiries
2. Proper disclosure of the company's policy and providing copy of the policy and handling protocol to the customers
3. Proper disclosure of customer's accounts and communications without hiding information.
4. All emails/telephone messages/recorded messages should be released to each and every customer
5. Proper handling of the personal information
6. Companies should not be pushing their preferred vendors onto the customers - This should be considered a conflict of interest and illegal
7. Insurance companies should not be in business of tying up with body shops, treatment centres, restoration companies, for pushing the customers to their preferred facilities...This should be declared as a conflict of interest
8. Insurance should not be allowed to buy restoration companies, auto body shops and or have ownership - This is a conflict of interest
9. Customers should be allowed the first preference of choosing their own vendors
10. Customers should be provided with full disclosure of insurance companies' ownership of restoration companies, treatment facilities and auto body shops.
11. Insurers should not be allowed to advertise their controversial Ads on the TVs regarding their services as none of their advertisements are true and these are not facts.

September 24, 2020
[2020-011 ] Larry Chang - Primerica Canada
Guideline, Section 1(3), Policies should also be made publicly available, especially those relating to how consumers can obtain advice, access to information and services, or file a complaint.

The above is insufficient, as making information available does not guarantee consumers know these information exist. Make licensees to accept a document such as CFA Institute Statement of Investor Rights. It is a one-pager. Licensees must show clients this statement when meeting clients. The statement is legible, good font size, simple, and licensees representatives could go over the statement with clients together at points of marketing and sales.

Making information public alone is insufficient. Incorporate consumers protection into conducts of engagement. For example, make it like how police officers must inform targets' of their rights.
September 23, 2020
Date posted Sector Question and response
Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector

Question: I recently had an extremely upset client who purchased a Health & Dental insurance policy on September 10, 2020, and only after finalizing the application did the welcome email inform the client (as well as myself) that the effective start date would be October 1, 2020. When I called the Insurer to ask why it could not start immediately, I was told that all H&D Insurers function this way. My question is: Why does H&D insurance not work in the same manner as Life insurance—where the first payment covers the Insured immediately? It really doesn't make sense that, had the client applied on Sept. 2, that he would have to wait practically an entire month before he can make any claims. Next, what if the client had applied on Sept. 30? A withdrawal would have been taken immediately, then a second withdrawal would have occurred the very next day. This would be a huge burden for low-income families, or simply any family that doesn't have that much cash flow. I truly believe that a more fair payment plan would be to prorate the first month so that the coverage could start immediately. For example, if the client applied on Sept. 10, then a $180/month premium could be prorated to $126 up-front to cover Sept. 10 to Sept. 30 (21 days inclusively), then subsequent months would be charged $180 on the 1st of every month; therefore, a payment taken on Oct. 1 would cover the client until Oct. 31. Someone who applies on Sept. 30 would therefore be charged $6 for one single day of coverage. Should a payment not go through for whatever reason, then the Insurer has every right to suspend coverage until it is paid in full. Alternatively, the client could be given a 10-day grace period, after which the policy lapses and the client will need to reapply for new coverage. During the application process, it could also be a fair option to ask the client whether they wish to be protected immediately, or whether they are ok with waiting until the 1st of the following month.

Thanks for considering my comments and suggestion.

FSRA response:

Thank you for your submission. The concerns you outline do not appear to relate directly to the consultation in question. However, FSRA encourages consumers and industry participants with information about a specific case of potential non-compliance to report the matter to FSRA by visiting FSRA’s website at www.fsrao.ca and clicking on “Question/Complaint/Fraud” at the top of the homepage. 

Additionally, you can share your concerns with your professional association for more guidance. 

Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector

Question: Will there be any onus placed on commissionable and servicing advisor’s for life and living benefit contracts to service them on an ongoing basis? There appears to be no regulatory stance on servicing standards. Will there be any fiduciary standard is placed on insurance advisors in the conversation about fair treatment of customers?

FSRA response:

The insurer has the ultimate responsibility for servicing its policies until all obligations under the contract are met. Where advisors are involved at any point of the policy lifecycle, the insurer is responsible for ensuring that advisors have appropriate policies and procedures in place for servicing the policy. 

FSRA will take your comments regarding compensation practices into consideration as it works with the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) and Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO) to develop approaches for enhancing market conduct oversight of Fair Treatment of Customers. CCIR/CISRO will engage with the sector regarding any guidance developed on this topic.

Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector

Question: Is there any consideration being made regarding the compensation of life and health insurance products? Currently compensation is paid primarily in year one and very little moving forward. This seems to place a little importance on the continuation of servicing. Perhaps levelized compensation would be helpful to be fair treatment of customers.

FSRA response:

The Insurance Act and regulations do not prescribe the amount or structure of advisor/agent/intermediary compensation for the sale of life and health insurance products. Insurers are free to set their own compensation amounts and payment structures. 

However, under Fair Treatment of Customers principles (as outlined in the FTC Guidance), insurers must be able to demonstrate to FSRA that their sales practices, including compensation schemes for intermediaries, support fair treatment and do not have the potential to harm consumers. 

FSRA will take your comments regarding compensation practices into consideration as it works with the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) and Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO) to develop approaches for enhancing market conduct oversight of Fair Treatment of Customers. CCIR/CISRO will engage with the sector regarding any guidance developed on this topic.

Home, Life and Health Insurance Sector

Question: What does FSRAO see as "consumers"? I work exclusively in employee benefits and FSCO had seemed to NOT see employers as consumers and only the employees that work for them as worthy of protection.

Is this still the case?

FSRA response:

If you are referring to a company (sponsoring employer) that seeks services from a brokerage to purchase life and health insurance plans for its employees, then yes, the employers would indeed be consumers under FSRA's Fair Treatment of Consumers guidance, as would the employees covered under the plan.