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Bill 141 : the sale of insurance on the Internet causes profound differences


Alain Thériault


Denis Méthot

8 February 2018 07:00

Christopher Johnson, Jean-François Desautels and Michel Laurin | Photo : Denis Méthot

With bill 141, the industry is watching closely the issue of insurance sales through the Internet. The parliamentary commission held in this regard has enabled us to identify an observation : discrepancies remain with regard to framing to apply.

On 7 December, the Committee on public finance was studying the draft law 141. The Journal of insurance has assisted at hearings of the Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Québec (RCCAQ), of the Corporation of the insurers direct de dommages du Québec (CADD), the insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and the Council of professionals in financial services (CDPSF).

On the bottom, all the world acknowledges that the sale of insurance products via the Internet should be facilitated to Quebec because of the changing purchasing habits of consumers. Is the sale of all insurance products should be allowed on the Net, life insurance as much as automobile insurance and home insurance ? Mp pq’s Nicolas Marceau, raised the issue. The answers have varied according to stakeholders.

The deepest disagreement is on the intervention or not of a certified representative even if the sale is made online. The RCCAQ has vigorously called for the mandatory involvement of a certified representative at any stage of the transaction for reasons of safety for the clients.

Its president, Christopher Johnson has repeated several times in front of the minister Carlos J. Leitão that the insurance was complex. Consumers should be well-advised when purchasing via the Internet may not be properly or sufficiently protected or not protected at all in case of a disaster, he mentioned.

«Modernity need not be at the expense of the protection of the consumer. It is cheaper to take a insurance broker that will take a lawyer. Everything is in the declaration of risk «.

The risk of bankruptcy

Mr Johnson said people could even end up in bankruptcy in the event of a disaster. The insurance that they contracteraient on the Web might not cover enough. He considers that the involvement of a certified representative to whom the consumer should contact at one time or the other would be a «seal of protection» and would the client safe from such a danger.

He has received the full support of the deputy caquiste François Bonnardel, who agreed with his arguments. The mp has expressed concern that consumers who buy online without advice from a certified representative does not have the appropriate cover in the event of a disaster.

The TRAY and the CADD disagree with the RCCAQ

The point of view of the RCCAQ is not shared by the BAC and the CADD. The distribution of insurance via the Internet responds to a growing need, argued for the CADD, recalling that the financial markets Authority had developed eleven clear guidance in 2015 to oversee the distribution of insurance via the Internet. Alain Camirand, a member of the board of directors of the Corporation and director of compliance at TD Insurance, has highlighted the flexibility that the bill 141 brought in respect of the sale of insurance via the Internet.

«The bill provides a legal framework which allows the sale via Internet and possibly other means to sell insurance products to consumers. What one appreciates in this legal framework is its flexibility. The bill allows the regulator the flexibility to issue additional requirements by regulation or by other means. It is our understanding that the Authority will supplement the necessary conditions so that the protection of consumers is ensured in a transaction by Internet «.

In the opinion of the LAC, the offering of insurance products via the Internet is only a new way, a choice additional to subscribe to a font, and interested consumers must have the necessary latitude to do so without being forced to speak to a certified representative as the would like to the RCCAQ. The BAC believes that the regulations for the purchase by the Internet does not have to be neither more nor less restrictive than the one framing the other means of communication with consumers.

Ultimately, says the insurance Bureau of Canada, the insurer or the cabinet will have the responsibility to ensure that the information and the tools that it puts at the disposal of the consumer to purchase an insurance product on the Internet will be sufficient to enable it to identify its needs and well understand the needs that are proposed. The technological tools are sophisticated enough today to guide and enable the consumer to make an informed choice, has raised Jean-François Desautels, senior vice-president, Quebec division ofIntact Insurance and chairman of the committee on BAC-Quebec.

What happens if a consumer who has taken out his own insurance on the Internet is not sufficiently covered in the event of a disaster ?

«If we see that a client has bought a font on the Internet and that our website was confusing and that it is not guided not very familiar with the person, we will not lose our reputation for an error that has been committed. We will support, » said Michel Laurin, president of the CADD andiA Auto and home in the Journal of the insurance. All insurers have this mentality «.

The CDPSF wants a cover to be included

Chairman of the CDPSF, Mario Gregory was welcomed as sales through the Internet is now framed. It wants to be, however, that this framework provides that a certified representative is accessible during the whole process of sale, whether it takes place online or in person. The good knowledge of the client by the analysis of financial needs and risk profile should not only play in one direction, said Mr. Gregory.

«We would like to see online, there is a process of analysis of needs universal to the profession as a whole. We would like an analysis of need simplified, for all the products available on the market. We believe then that the consumer will make its approach on the Internet will ask a lot more questions. It will require the accompaniment of a professional in financial services. «

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