Canada: Insurance Changes In Saskatchewan And Manitoba

Major Changes To Saskatchewan Insurance Act

A bill that will repeal the Saskatchewan Insurance Act and replace it with modernized insurance legislation has received second reading in the Saskatchewan legislature. Bill 177 will lead to the enactment of The Insurance Act, which is modeled on, but is not identical to, the provisions of Alberta's Insurance Act. It is the first major revision to insurance regulation in Saskatchewan in five decades.

Notable changes to the legislation include:

  • requiring greater supervision of agents and brokers by insurance companies;
  • requiring "managing general agents" to be licensed. "Managing general agent" is defined as an insurance agent that manages all or part of an insurer's business and carries out specific activities on behalf of the insurer, including accepting applications for insurance from licensed insurance agents, entering into written agency agreements with, and supervising and monitoring the activities of, licensed insurance agents;
  • the Superintendent will have the right to require insurance companies to carry out "insurance compliance self-evaluative audits" by which they evaluate their compliance with the legislation, guidelines and industry, company and professional standards, and provide a copy of the audit report to the Superintendent. The legislation specifically provides that the "insurance compliance self- evaluative audit document" is privileged information and is not discoverable or admissible as evidence in any civil or administrative proceeding, other than proceedings commenced by the Superintendent against an insurer under The Insurance Act. Given the Superintendent's right to assess administrative monetary penalties for violations of The InsuranceAct, the exception poses serious issues for insurers required to complete the "insurance compliance self-evaluative audit";
  • modernizing the framework for insurance contracts, deleting the class of fire insurance and replacing it with insurance provisions that apply to all contracts of property and casualty insurance (subject to some specific exceptions);
  • permitting electronic communications by insurers, subject to certain specific exceptions relating to cancellation of insurance contracts and beneficiary designations under life and accident and sickness insurance policies;
  • providing that group persons insured have the right to examine copies of the policies of group insurance;
  • permitting insurance agents to adjust claims up to a prescribed amount (the actual amount is not yet known); and
  • permitting insurance intermediaries to offer inducements to prospective insureds to transact insurance with an insurer or managing general agent, if permitted by the regulations. The draft regulations have not yet been circulated, so it is not clear what the limit will be on inducements.

Restricted Insurance Agent Licences Required In Manitoba As Of June 1, 2015

Incidental sellers of insurance, such as deposit taking institutions, travel agencies, automobile dealers, sales finance companies, mortgage brokers and funeral homes, will be required to hold a restricted insurance agent's licence in Manitoba as of June 1, 2015. The licence is issued to the entity and permits all employees of the entity to sell insurance relating to the goods or services provided to the entity's customers. In addition, as in Saskatchewan, the restricted licence may also apply to employees of subcontractors of the restricted insurance agent, as long as there is a contract between the restricted insurance agent and the subcontractor that provides adequate consumer protection and adequate control by the restricted insurance agent over the activities of the subcontractor. The Insurance Council of Manitoba will begin accepting applications for restricted insurance agent licences February 1, 2015, and has advised that applications must be received prior to April 30, 2015 to ensure they are issued prior to June 1, 2015.

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