On April 2, 2015, the Autorité des marchés
financiers ("AMF") released Internet Insurance
Offerings in Québec (the "Report"), outlining
its recommendations for the online distribution of insurance. This
Report will be of particular interest to price-shopping
The Report is the result of a more than two year consultation
process regarding the regulatory framework that should apply to the
online distribution of insurance products in Québec and
takes into account the findings of the Canadian Counsel of
Insurance Regulators as described in their position paper,
Electronic Commerce in Insurance Products, released in
Price Shopping Websites Require Licensure
The AMF has made clear that websites comparing and offering
quotes for insurance coverage from different insurers are
exercising an advisory activity and must be
registered with the AMF as insurance representatives.
We note that the penalty for acting as an insurance
representative without the appropriate license is the greater of
$3,000 for each offence, double the profit realized or one fifth of
the sums entrusted to or collected by the offender.2
In addition to addressing licensure, the Report also reminds
businesses of other obligations related to doing business
Ensure that consumers' personal information is secured and
to adopt policies and procedures to make certain that their systems
are secure and reliable at all times.
Ensure there is no advertising on the web page(s) where
consumers complete an online insurance application. Such
advertising may only be displayed prior to or after the consumer
completes the purchase.
Ensure there are policies and procedures in place to allow
monitoring of the content of the entity's online posts or
publications as well as those of employees and
Recommendations Relating to the Online Purchase of
The Report makes the following recommendations:
Information about the insurer must be easily accessible on its
Insurers must provide consumers with appropriate online
self‑assessment tools to assist consumers in making an
A certified representative must be available, if needed, to
assist consumers in the purchasing process.
Consumers must be provided with a right of rescission for a
reasonable period following purchase.
Material information must be brought to the consumers'
attention during the purchasing process, including details about
the insurance and its exclusions and limitations, the total premium
and other fees and expenses (plus applicable taxes) that consumers
will have to pay and, in the case of insurance distributed without
representative (for example, travel insurance), the distribution
The information must be presented in a step by step approach,
rather than in bulk and consumers will be required to confirm that
they have read and fully understood each step.
Information must be presented in plain language, avoiding the
use of legalese.
Prior to a contract being issued, an insurer must provide the
consumer with a clear summary of the information relating to the
insurance products to be purchased.
Following the completion of any transaction online, an insurer
must provide the consumer with copies of all contract documentation
in electronic or hard copy (the choice is the consumer's).
While the recommendations will eventually be proposed as
amendments to An Act respecting insurance and other
legislation in Québec, as applicable, it is important to
note that the AMF does not believe that insurance products sold
online should be treated differently than insurance products sold
through traditional channels. As such, we do not expect to see many
changes to the current state of insurance regulation in
Québec and entities are reminded that the current regulatory
regime applies to online sales.
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