The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), the Ontario insurance regulator, has identified two key areas of assessment of life and health insurers licensed in Ontario for 2020-2021.
What you need to know
FSRA’s two key identified areas of assessment are:
- implementing fair treatment of customers (FTC) principles across distribution channels through the lifecycle of the insurance product; and
- reviewing the relationships between insurance companies and managing general agencies (MGAs) in the context of an ever-evolving distribution system.
Fair treatment of customers
FSRA will be reviewing insurance companies with respect to the following areas.
- Corporate governance—to ensure that reporting relationships between management and senior officers allow for effective oversight, and that FTC is reflected in the insurer’s culture and values.
- Agent training and outsourcing arrangements—to evaluate policies and procedures, agent suitability and agent training.
- Incentives and remuneration—reviewing agent compensation structures and incentives, and confirming that the insurer periodically assesses risks to ensure appropriate products are sold to consumers.
- Product marketing and advertising—ensuring that the insurer provides sufficient product information to allow a customer to make an informed decision at time of sale.
- Information provided to customers—reviewing information provided to customers, including insurer policies and procedures, and ensuring the customer information process incorporates FTC principles.
- Claims handling—ensuring that claims handling process and standard processing times incorporate FTC principles.
- Complaint handling and dispute settlement—reviewing complaint handling and dispute settlement policies and procedures and ensuring that the insurer informs customers of its complaints processing service and its response timelines.
Similar reviews of industry performance with respect to FTC principles are being conducted in Québec and also more generally through the forum of the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators.
Managing general agencies
FSRA does not currently regulate MGAs (Saskatchewan is the only province that has a separate license class for MGAs). However, FSRA will review the relationship between insurance companies and MGAs in the individual life insurance field with a focus on the following areas to determine if the public interest is well served and whether a revised framework for regulating and supervising distribution channels that rely on managing general agencies is needed:
- distribution channels—exploring the different types of distribution models insurers use, including the proportion of business written through each channel, the number of contracted agents, and the overall product delivery strategy;
- screening and onboarding of MGAs and agents—reviewing the insurer’s practices when screening and onboarding an MGA, its strategy for selecting MGAs, and its due diligence, policies and procedures;
- agreements and contracts between insurance companies and MGAs—reviewing the insurer’s written agreements with MGAs, including contractual conditions and scope, performance measures and obligations, outsourced functions and responsibilities, and agent oversight functions; and
- supervision and monitoring of outsourced functions—reviewing the insurer’s supervision and monitoring of its outsourced functions to MGAs, particularly agent oversight functions and responsibilities which are typically delegated to MGAs.
Title regulation and segregated funds
Along with these key areas of assessment for life insurers, FSRA will continue its work with respect to the title protection framework for financial planners and financial advisors and on increasing regulatory effectiveness for segregated funds.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
Learning Management Specialist / Developer
We are looking for a Learning Management System (LMS) professional to help our team oversee and maintain our server infrastructure and proprietary LMS system. This person will develop provided LMS content and create traditional PHP/Java-based web services to implement into our global LMS strategy. The Learning Management Specialist shall provide technical best practices and recommendations to programmers and instructional designers for loading content onto the Learning Management Systems and will provide production and development support as a key member of the IT team.
Candidate must be a quick learner and be able to work effectively both independently and in a team environment. The ideal candidate will be a highly motivated, enthusiastic, self-starting team player.
- Microsoft SQL or MySQL Database knowledge required
- Effective interpersonal and communication skills, both verbally and in writing
- Excellent Problem-solving skills, analytical and organizational skills and demonstrates close attention to detail
- Troubleshooting online course content and various LMS related issues
- Upgrade existing applications for efficiency and usability with new modifications
- Publish new courses and updating existing course content
- Build/upgrade Web applications according to client needs
- Design and implement web-specific applications/tools for LMS administration
- Document procedures, technical instructions and business knowledge
- Troubleshoot WordPress related issues
- Run custom database queries according to client needs using standard SQL tools
- Manage Windows Server applications and troubleshoot same
- Maintain employee email management via Microsoft Exchange Server
- Troubleshoot any network related issues both internally and externally
- Experience with various programming languages
- LMS Proficiency
- Understanding of Software developing life cycles (SDLC)
- Strong understanding of programming logic/workflow, and data population
- Experience in data analysis, SQL, and object-oriented programming languages
- Full Stack, Object-Oriented, API experience, etc., not required but strong plus
ILS Corp is an industry leader in Canada providing internet-based insurance training. Building on more than two decades of live insurance training, in 2000, ILS Corp went online with ilscorp.com and became the first independent organization to offer online continuing education and insurance licensing preparation training. In 2007, ILS Corp offered the first insurance education courses in a video-streaming format. Today, ILS Corp continues to be the insurance training course provider of choice for more than 21,000 Canadian insurance professionals.
We are a company built on a deep network of expertise and our IT teams are extremely skilled at creating progressive solutions in an ever-changing field of on-line education.
Location: Comox, BC
Job Type: Full Time / 40 hours
Wage: TBA – Based on experience
Please email resume and cover letter to email@example.com
OTTAWA _ The Treasury Board of Canada says it has uncovered suspicious activities on more than 48,000 Canada Revenue Agency accounts following cyberattacks in July and August.
The treasury says the previously-announced attacks targeted CRA accounts and GCKey, an online portal through which Canadians access employment insurance and immigration services.
Attackers used a method called credential stuffing, which takes advantage of people who reuse usernames and passwords across multiple platforms that may have been previously hacked.
The treasury says GCKey was not compromised, but it has revoked 9,300 credentials for its system and is contacting those users in hopes of blocking subsequent attacks.
Canadians who receive a revocation message can register for new credentials or make use of the SecureKey Concierge, which lets users sign in to 269 government services through partners, such as major banks.
The treasury says the Royal Canadian Mounted Police’s investigation into the attacks is still ongoing and affected departments have been in contact with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to provide updates on what personal information has been compromised.
By Lauren Krugel
THE CANADIAN PRESS
CALGARY _ People may have found it odd when thieves made off with truckloads of hot tubs and beef within days of each other in rural Alberta, but experts say the capers highlight a growing crime perpetrated by sophisticated culprits.
“It’s obviously not a new problem. But from what we’re seeing in the statistics, the problem seems to be getting worse,” said Sid Kingma, who directs the Insurance Bureau of Canada’s investigative services arm in Western Canada.
Last year, $35 million in cargo theft losses were reported to the bureau, compared to $2.1 million five years earlier.
In 2014, when the bureau started compiling cargo theft statistics, $270,000 in stolen cargo was recovered. In 2019, that figure was $14 million.
Kingma cautioned that the bureau’s numbers reflect only a small snapshot of the problem based on reports it receives.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance has put total losses from cargo theft at $5 billion a year.
RCMP have linked the same phoney Quebec trucking company _ Transport Pascal Charland _ to the Aug. 30 theft of $230,000 worth of beef from a Brooks, Alta., beef-packing plant and the Sept. 2 theft of seven hot tubs from a manufacturer in Thorsby, southwest of Edmonton.
“You can see that there was some work put into getting the proper documentation and having everything in place for that theft in order to be able to occur,” said Kingma, a former Edmonton police officer.
“So there’s some organization involved.”
Household items, including food, are the most common type of stolen cargo, and most of it can’t be traced with serial numbers, said Kingma. He said he’s heard of trailers of toilet paper, nuts and tires being lifted.
A lot of the hot merchandise is the kind that can be easily and quickly sold in settings where there’s little oversight, like small shops or swap meets.
“There’s people out there that maybe don’t have great scruples,” Kingma said.
Mike Proska, president of Burloak Investigative Services in Burlington, Ont., said cargo thieves frequently find their targets on load boards, online subscription services that match truckers and prospective customers.
“You have the bad guys who troll these load boards and they’re looking for something that whets their appetite,” said the former Peel Regional Police officer.
Proska said criminals use the boards to post bogus loads in order to get documents from legitimate trucking outfits looking for work.
They can then use that information to pose as those companies and communicate with their marks using fake emails and burner phones.
Proska said the culprits don’t send their own people to pick up the cargo they’re planning on stealing. Instead, they’ll contract out a small trucking company that has no idea it’s being roped into a crime.
The main groups who operate these scams are based out of Quebec and Ontario, but Proska didn’t discount the possibility that some are cropping up in the West.
He said there’s a smaller chance of being scammed when doing business with a big, established company than a smaller one.
Often, businesses will use brokers to hire truckers to ship their merchandise. In that case, the customer should ask for details, Proska said.
“When you’re picking a carrier, you have to do your due diligence.”
For instance, he said, if the business address for a carrier comes up as a house on Google Maps, “that’s going to put my red flags up.”
The back-to-back hot tub and beef heists weren’t the only crimes of this kind in Canada recently.
Mounties in New Brunswick said in June that four tractor trailers filled with snow crab disappeared from two trucking terminals in Moncton.
The Guelph Mercury in southwestern Ontario reported last year that a transport truck filled with cold cuts was stolen from a local meat-processing plant and that police believed the alleged thieves showed fake documents before making off with the meat.
By Christopher Reynolds
Manulife Financial Corp. is offering COVID-19-related travel insurance for Canadians who take international and domestic trips, eliciting mixed reactions from the industry.
The policy, slated to roll out in October, will provide emergency medical coverage that includes the coronavirus and related conditions.
It will also provide some coverage linked to trip interruptions or cancellations in the event of quarantine, Manulife said in a release Wednesday.
The new “pandemic travel plan” includes visits to regions subject to a level-three travel advisory, which warns against non-essential travel and which Canada has issued for all countries.
The nation’s largest insurer follows some smaller providers in offering medical travel insurance that covers COVID-19, including the Canadian Association of Blue Cross in Ontario and Quebec. Trip interruptions are not covered under Blue Cross plans.
The Manulife plan includes emergency medical coverage up to $200,000 for COVID-19 and related conditions after a positive test result as well as emergency air transport to return home.
That ceiling is a far cry from the $5 million in emergency medical expenses the company covers for non-coronavirus health issues.
“Is the limit of $200,000 sufficient for more serious cases in places like the United States, where the medical expenses are astronomical?” asked insurance lawyer Sivan Tumarkin.
“We’ve heard about these cases of people who are hospitalized on ventilators for days, weeks, who are close to death and it takes them months, perhaps, to recover.”
Exclusions based on pre-existing conditions are another concern. Manulife has not yet released details about the new plan or how health conditions such as asthma or lung disease might factor in to coverage availability.
“I’m happy that these coverages are coming because people want to travel and we need insurance, but my thing would be just release the policy, release the verbiage,” Tumarkin said.
“The devil is in the details.”
New insurance offers that arguably incentivize travel fly in the face of authorities urging Canadians to stay home, says Marty Firestone, president of Travel Secure Inc., a Toronto-based company that specializes in travel insurance.
“It’s good, it’s a step in the right direction. But why are we encouraging travelling and covering COVID if our own Canadian government is extending the U.S. border closure,” he asked, referring to Manulife’s plan. “That’s a little contradictory.”
At least one Manulife rival seems to agree. Orion Travel Insurance Co., a major travel insurance provider owned by CAA, “is not proactively encouraging international travel while advisories remain in effect,” CAA spokesman Elliott Silverstein said in an email.
Orion’s emergency medical insurance plan will include COVID-19-related costs when Global Affairs Canada brings travel advisories to a lower level, he said.
Air Canada and WestJet now offer free travel insurance with a $100,000 coverage limit on flights to Mexico, the Caribbean and, in WestJet’s case, Europe.
Firestone said he is concerned about companies “luring passengers…with this false sense of security.”
WestJet has highlighted “peace of mind” through safety protocols and the no-charge insurance, which applies to reservations made starting this Friday.
“We know Canadians are seeking reassurance and our guests can now have confidence knowing they are protected against unforeseen medical costs related to the pandemic when choosing to book with WestJet,” chief commercial officer Arved von zur Muehlen said in a statement last week.
Manulife’s plan also covers daily quarantine-related costs of $150 per person or $300 per family for up to two weeks.
Basic travel insurance plans generally don’t cover pandemics, with viral exclusions comprising a part of various insurance policies since the SARS epidemic.
“The pandemic has had extraordinary impacts on the day-to-day lives of Canadians, and at Manulife, our top priority remains the health and safety of our customers, employees, partners and communities. This specialized travel insurance is aimed at helping protect what matters most,” Alex Lucas, head of insurance at Manulife, said in a statement.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 16, 2020
Westland Insurance Group Ltd.
SURREY, British Columbia, Sept. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Westland Insurance Group Ltd. (“Westland”) is pleased to announce the closing of four acquisitions, effective August 31, 2020. The new retail offices, which are located in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba, support Westland’s expansion strategy to serve more communities across the country.
“This is an exciting time for Westland as we continue our strategic expansion across Canada. These acquisitions strengthen our presence in western Canada, and, for the first time, provide us the opportunity to support clients in Manitoba,” said Jason Wubs, CEO of Westland Insurance. “These are all client-focussed agencies with deep roots in their communities, and they are perfectly aligned to Westland’s core values. Their professional advisors will continue to provide the same great service, and we are excited to welcome our new team members to the Westland family.”
Founded in 1962, King Insurance is a family-owned brokerage located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Its professional insurance advisors are experts in residential, auto, business, life and disability insurance.
Johnson Agencies has served the insurance needs of Leduc, Alberta, and the surrounding areas since 1967. They provide residential, auto, recreation, commercial, farm, travel and life insurance.
Hedderick Insurance Agencies:
Located in Pincher Creek, Alberta, Hedderick Insurance Agencies has been serving clients since 1949. They provide residential, commercial, recreation, farm and auto insurance.
Nauroth & Associates:
Family-owned Nauroth & Associates has been serving the Prince George, BC, area for over 25 years. Their expert advisors provide the community with auto, residential, commercial, travel and life insurance.
With these acquisitions, Westland Insurance will be adding four branches and over 30 employees across Canada. Post-acquisition, Westland will have nearly 1500 employees and more than 120 offices in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
About Westland Insurance Group
Westland Insurance Group is a client-focused and community-based Property & Casualty insurance brokerage established in 1980 in Ladner, B.C. The company is one of Canada’s largest independent P&C insurance distributors with over 120 offices throughout British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Westland is considered a leader in home, business, farm and auto insurance.