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Anti-spam legislation : the industry should be better prepared

by

Hubert Roy

30 June 2017 06:00

Philippe Le Roux | Photo : Réjean Meloche

The insurance industry is neither better nor worse than other industries in the face of the anti-spam law, believes Philippe Le Roux, president of Certimail. It is based on a survey conducted by the Journal of the insurance in may of last year to confirm his claims.

More than 500 industry professionals responded to the online survey of the Journal of the insurance. Mr Le Roux has analyzed the results at the request of the Journal.

It considers problematic that the insurance industry is not more willing than others before the Law canadian anti-spam legislation (C-28). «It has been identified as a major risk for businesses. However, the insurers deal with business risk, for the liability of directors and officers, among others. The industry should be at the forefront of the issues related to this law. It is surprising that it does not. I was expecting a better knowledge of their part «, said Mr. Le Roux.

He stressed that the preparation of the insurers in the face of the anti-spam law has been raised at the last congress of the law society of Canada. «The lawyers present agreed that the insurers were not aware to what extent they are exposed through the protections they offer to their commercial customers «, said the president of Certimail.

Mr. Le Roux is also a concern for the industry by the fact that its distribution is often related to the brokerage. «The act is particularly dangerous in these cases. The insurers will be responsible for what the brokers will make, even if these are businesses that are totally independent. The Council of broadcasting and telecommunications commission (CRTC) is clear : a company that uses the trademark of another, must have good knowledge of the compliance policy of this company, » he says.

And Mr Le Roux persists on this point : a clause in a contract is not enough ! «The fact that the insurer dealt with a third party, and that he respects him-even the law is not enough. He must take action and make checks to ensure that there is compliance. «

A false comfort

One of the first findings of the survey conducted by the Journal of the insurance is that the industry professionals will feel comfortable in the face of the anti-spam law. They do not realize that this law affects all commercial communications. We found 93 % of respondents who say they use them. «They can’t afford to flusher this,» said Mr Le Roux.

And he adds that the level of knowledge of the industry is very low. The Journal of insurance has asked seven basic questions in connection with the anti-spam law. And on the 505 respondents who participated, only 4 have correctly answered the 7 questions, less than 1% of the respondents. However, 30 % of respondents said they are very familiar with this law.

We also found 15% of respondents who believe that this law does not apply to them, which is false, because almost all of the respondents noted that they use commercial electronic communications. Mr Le Roux points out that this rate of ignorance is the same in all industries, and even among the lawyers, he says.

The CRTC also indicated that any company must initiate a compliance program in connection with the anti-spam law. Yet, 42 % of respondents to the survey of the Journal of insurance have never heard of. And Mr Le Roux believes that this figure is probably under-estimated, and that the real rate of ignorance is likely to be higher.

«When you ask people if there is a defence in the face of the law, nine out of ten respondents say that there has not. However, the compliance program is just such a means of defence. «

Barely 1% are well protected

To do this, we find seven respondents out of eight who agreed that their company has no compliance program. And again, this figure does not route according to Mr Le Roux. He does not believe that one in eight can be consistent, as the survey shows that the measures that these companies have taken are not adequate.

We found 11 % of respondents who say their company has a compliance audit. And yet, seven out of eight have stated that they do not include mechanisms of withdrawal in their e-mails. The survey also reveals that nearly a quarter of respondents have not taken any compliance action. In addition, this data excludes those who responded «I don’t know» to this question.

With regard to the measures which they have adopted, found 10% of respondents that have conducted a risk analysis, 19 % have a written policy, and 11% included a mechanism for removing in the signature of their employees, 14 % who archive messages, and 16% who assigned a person responsible for compliance in connection with the management of commercial email.

«By crossing all these data, it is impossible to have one in eight who can be consistent, says Mr Le Roux. And what is even more telling is that 89 % of respondents are unaware that the law provides a mechanism of defence, which is the compliance program. In fact, if one crosses the data, one arrives at less than 1 % of respondents who are adequately prepared. «

Another finding of the survey, the anti-spam law has prompted several companies to reduce their promotional mailings. We found 5% of respondents who said the reduce and 11 % who have simply stopped.

Mr Le Roux regrets at all, because it considers it unnecessary to reduce its promotional mailings. «The new anti-spam law forces the company to put in place a compliance program anyway. In addition, it is costly to stop. E-mail remains today the tool marketing is the most effective and the most cost-effective. In the medium term, this is not viable. «

A healthy process

The president of Certimail moreover places the emphasis on this point. Even if the company ceases its promotional mailings, it remains exposed to the law, for its employees to send commercial messages.

«The law is thought to force the companies to apply best practices. If it does, it protects. In addition, it will improve its results. To make the compliance process allows you to optimize the results and decrease operating costs. It is extremely healthy for a company. Email is the backbone of all the marketing organization. The companies are investing more and more in Web sites, while the e-mail is the base. «

The Journal of insurance has also measured what management the industry was compliance related to the anti-spam law. Four elements were measured : have a written policy, train employees, appoint a compliance officer and have in place a complaint handling mechanism. These four measures, which are required by the CRTC, have been ignored by more than 70% of the companies. And in the lot, one in four respondents says that his company has not taken any measures to comply with the anti-spam law.

The training of employees is the measure that has been most adopted in the industry, while 27 % of respondents said they trained their staff. Then come the complaints management, where 22 % of respondents reported having a mechanism to manage them, and in the implementation of a written policy, where 20 % of respondents indicated that their company has one. We found 17% of respondents whose company has appointed a compliance officer.

And once again, Mr Le Roux doubt that compliance is fully present in each case. He takes the example of the record keeping, where the CRTC has twenty requirements, including the maintenance of a register of people who are removed from the list (opt-out) consent, or messages. «It should be any store ofOutlook , «he said.

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