Insurance oversight bodies addressing standards, technology

By Kirsten McMahon, Associate Editor

Two oversight bodies for Canada’s insurance regulators are seeking public input on new recommendations which will likely bring some regulations under a common set of national and international standards, Toronto insurance defence lawyer Heather Vaughan tells The Lawyer’s Daily.

The legal publication reports that the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) and the Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO) released a draft joint guidance for consultation that sets out their expectations for how insurers and intermediaries conduct business to establish the fair treatment of customers.

“Although each province and territory in Canada has its own set of regulatory standards for insurers, the CCIR and CISRO note that each have a common set of expectations pertaining to the conduct of business to ensure the fair treatment of customers,” the article states.

“The guidance is looking into issues of disclosure on contracts, with the two organizations saying customers be given ‘appropriate information in order to make an informed decision before entering into a contract.’ CCIR and CISRO say disclosure to customers should be ‘up to date and provided in a way that is clear, fair and not misleading, using plain language wherever possible,’ and all advice given by insurers be explained and documented, particularly in the case of complex products,” it continues.

Vaughan, a partner with Benson Percival Brown LLP, tells The Lawyer’s Daily she believes the purpose of the actions by CCIR and CISRO is to bring some insurance regulations under a common set of national and international guidelines.

“So they’ve sort of looked to the international standards to see how they can bring those in Canada. The IMF and other organizations are always looking to see what’s going on in member countries,” she says. “They just want to make sure that we’re following the best practices in the insurance sector and are compatible with what people are doing internationally.”

Vaughan adds that the guidance is also attempting to address technological advances in the industry.

“Insurance is going through the same sort of disruption that everyone else is undergoing,” she says. “How can we get our clients the services they want and how can we sell to our clients the way they want to be sold to?”

The public consultation period is open until June 18, 2018, and the proposed guidance can be found on the CCIR and CISRO websites. The article reports that the working group will review feedback over the summer, and the finalized guidance is expected to be released this fall.

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