A number of issues are posing a direct threat to your firm's well-being and your profession's future. Here is a short summary of the battles that the RCCAQ is currently waging—with your invaluable support!
- Bill 188 (An Act Respecting the Distribution of Financial Products and Services) regulates online distribution and our profession as a whole. It came into effect in 1998.
- The provincial government is expected to review and update the Act in the near future.
- Insurance is not a routine kind of product! Purchasing insurance products raises a number of important consumer issues.
- Brokers' primary role involves advising clients and defending their interests; this is what sets them apart from insurance agents.
- The direct insurers are a major lobbying force in dealings with the AMF.
- The AMF issued a report in early April in which it ruled that certified representatives are not required to play a role in online transactions.
- We made multiple representations and submitted a brief to the AMF in order to defend our positions:
- In terms of transaction models, we recognize that online insurance sales meet some consumers' needs.
- We emphasized the importance of having certified representatives involved in online transactions.
- We do not believe that consumers should bear sole responsibility when purchasing insurance products.
- Continue to lobby the AMF.
Telematics technology is offered by a growing number of insurance companies.
Canadians have not yet embraced this technology due to data protection concerns.
Telematics raises a number of important issues concerning data ownership and privacy protection.
Brokers' primary role involves advising clients and defending their interests; this is what sets them apart from insurance agents.
The direct insurers are a major lobbying force in dealings with the AMF.
The telematics report issued by the AMF in early April fails to clearly address a number of key points, such as data transferability and data storage sites (i.e. secure facilities are required and the data should remain in Canada.)
Where we stand
- We are in favour of telematics technology if it is well regulated and benefits consumers (i.e. enhancing their existing coverage based on their broker's advice).
- Nevertheless, it is essential that company-to-company data transferability be guaranteed and that data remain the property of consumers (and not insurers).
- Data must be subject to Canadian law.
- Continue to lobby the AMF.
- On average, consumers pay 60% more for replacement insurance when purchased from an auto dealer than from a broker.
- Consumers are often forced to replace their vehicle at the same point of sale.
Some auto dealers are taking action in areas reserved for certified professionals.
- The RCCAQ has been reporting illegal practices to the AMF since 2012.
- We submitted a series of complaints to the AMF in March 2013.
- We made numerous representations to the AMF protesting the situation.
- We made a number of public media appearances aimed at protecting consumers.
- Auto dealers were penalized by the AMF - read about it here.
- We continue to lobby the AMF and the government to ensure that the practices engaged in by dealerships' financial directors are properly regulated or that dealers' right to sell FPQ5 is revoked.
- Last December, Quebec's finance minister announced that the sales tax on auto insurance premiums would increase from 5% to 9%.
-We made representations to the government (in collaboration with the Insurance Bureau of Canada/IBC) aimed at postponing the effective date of this measure.
-The effective date was not changed (January 1, 2015).
-However, we were able to obtain a grace period until July 31, 2015 for brokers to remit the portion of the auto insurance tax corresponding to the 4% increase.
-Many media outlets requested explanations from us on how this increase would affect consumers.
- A temporary tax credit was obtained in 2013, resulting in $20 million in savings for the brokerage network.
- This temporary credit expires in 2016.
Where we stand
- The expiration of the credit will be harmful to brokerage firms.
- The credit should be permanent because brokerage firms are small and medium-sized businesses; they are not financial institutions.
- We made representations to the provincial finance ministry, supported by our members' solidarity and collective impact.
High-level defence of industry issues
- The assistance of a lobbying firm was required to gain access to key decision makers.
- The very first provincial Parliament Hill Day was organized.
- A number of key meetings were held to forge stronger ties with MNAs.
- We met with MNA Nicolas Marceau, official opposition spokesman in the areas of finance and revenue.
- We met with the Liberal Party caucus.
- We also met with the finance minister's office.
- In the run-up to the Bill 188 review and the tabling of the finance minister's white paper, we have primarily focused on auto dealers' illegal practices and the broker-agent distinction.
- This activity will be held again in the future.
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