Consumers may not be affected by Quebec’s decision to remove brokers from online sales

Published: March 30, 2018

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Consumers will be helped by upcoming changes to the property and casualty market in Quebec. The province has proposed regulatory changes that allow property and casualty insurance to be sold without human input. While some are concerned by the possible changes, they may represent an opportunity to help customers.

That’s according to Scott Loong, co-founder and CEO of Covera Technologies Inc., a Monteral-based digital broker. Speaking to Canadian Underwriter, Loong says it is possible to keep consumers safe without a human in place during the sales process. There should be no reason the customer-broker relationship cannot function under the new regulations as advice will still be needed.

“Consumers know and understand how to purchase things online,” he said in an interview. “They do their banking online, they do their investments online, they purchase laundry detergent online. Any interpretation of [the legislative] changes that necessarily implies that there’s an erosion of their protection, it doesn’t acknowledge that reality.”

Bill 141 would introduce legislation in Quebec that allows customers to purchase online insurance coverage without needing a licensed broker or insurer. However, consumers would be able to contact a licensed representative if they want. The bill would also disband the Chambre de l’assurance de dommages (ChAD), which acts as Quebec’s regulatory body for brokers.

While Loong is cautiously optimistic, the regulatory body has been negative about the proposed changes.

“What we can say conclusively… is that authorizing online sales with the involvement of a certified insurance representative would be risky in terms of consumer protection,” said Patrice Pouliot, first vice president of the Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Québec (RCCAQ).

“Insurance is far from being an everyday product, where if consumers buy something hastily online, they have the option of returning it to the manufacturer,” Pouliot said. “In fact, insurance is a complicated business. If consumers buy insurance online without receiving any advice at all, the responsibility will fall on their shoulders. If they file a claim, it will be impossible for them to turn back the clock to adjust their coverage.”