Of interest to our clients who are involved in insurance products or interested in governance, the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) and Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO) have published for comment principles-based guidance on the conduct of insurance business and fair treatment of customers. The proposed guidance covers a wide range of topics, including conflicts of interest, disclosure to clients, outsourcing, dispute-handling and the provision of advice. The consultation paper also discusses the responsibilities of insurers, distributors, agents and representatives.

Comments will be accepted until June 18. Once the guidance is finalized, regulators will decide individually on the next steps in their jurisdictions.

In Ontario, the Financial Services Commission (FSCO) also published principles-based guidelines for fair treatment of customers in April. Until it is replaced by the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, FSCO oversees the insurance, pension plan and mortgage broker industries in Ontario. FSCO’s proposed guidelines stress that fair treatment of consumers should be a core component of a licensee’s business and governance. The guidelines also clarify FSCO’s expectations with respect to matters such as promotional activities, the need for training programs focusing on ethics and integrity, know-your-client (KYC) and suitability obligations, conflicts of interest, complaint-handling and privacy