In the fall of 2017, the Quebec government introduced two long-awaited bills that will bring about extensive reforms to the insurance industry in Quebec.
The new regime would see the Canadian province open the way for insurance firms to offer products and services online, without the assistance of a broker or agent. It is still unclear whether the requirement will apply to all types of policies — namely property & casualty and life & health. In any event, consumers will have a right to a 10-day cooling-off period, during which they can cancel insurance policies contracted online.
Also, the new rules would impose stricter demands on brokerage firms dealing in damage insurance. Firms will be required to offer policies from at least four insurers belonging to different financial groups. In the event they cannot, they will have to show the regulator that they made every effort to do so, failing which they will have to change their registration to insurance agency. What’s more, damage insurance agencies and brokerage firms will have to disclose, on their website and in all communications with clients, the name of the insurers for whom they offer insurance products.
Last but not least, group insurance — which was officially possible only for life & health policies — will now be specifically allowed for property & casualty policies.
The proposed legislative changes, expected to become law sometime in 2018, should bring Quebec in line with other jurisdictions, and bring about a more competitive market among insurers, to the benefit of the consumers.