The Ontario government should establish a new organization that would perform the functions currently performed by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and the Deposit Insurance Corporation of Ontario (DICO), an expert advisory panel said in a report released Monday.
The panel recommends that a new Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) be established, and it should exercise both prudential and market conduct functions. The panel – comprised of George Cooke, James Daw and Lawrence Ritchie – made its recommendation to create FSRA in an interim report released in November, 2015. The final report, dated March 31, was made public Monday and contains 44 recommendations.
The mandate review was partly made necessary with the transfer of responsibility for operating an auto insurance dispute resolution system from FSCO to Ministry of the Attorney General’s Licence Appeal Tribunal on April 1, 2016.
The report suggests that FSRA should consolidate functions, but it should have separate divisions for the regulation of market conduct; prudential oversight; and pension administration. These divisions of the regulator should operate in a coordinated manner, but each division should be insulated from the routine regulatory activities, pressures and resource demands of other divisions.
FSRA should be a self-funded corporation without share capital, operationally independent of government, yet accountable to the Legislature through the Minister of Finance. The FSRA should be outside of the Ontario Public Service and be empowered to hire its personnel from outside of the Ontario Public Service’s collective agreements, compensation restraints, and other hiring restraints to support its ability to recruit professionals and industry expertise as it deems necessary.
FSRA should have a skills-based Board of Directors appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council. The Board would oversee FSRA’s operations and the Board should have the authority to appoint a Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The Board Chair should report directly to the Minister of Finance.
FSRA’s Board should be given authority to make rules that would be enforceable pursuant to the statute, having a similar authority as Cabinet Regulations.
Auto Insurance Rate Regulation
The panel did not make any recommendations with respect to the prior approval of auto insurance. However, it did recommend that FSRA’s Board should be obliged and empowered to decide how auto insurance rates are to be regulated and make use of its rule-making authority to scope out a rate approval process.
The view of the panel is that when it comes to the regulation of automobile insurance rates, FSCO is not ultimately protecting the public interest or enhancing confidence in the sector.
Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund
The panel recommends that responsibility for operating the Motor Vehicle Accident Claims Fund (MVACF) be transferred to the Facility Association (FA), a non-profit organization funded by automobile insurers in the provinces and territories that operate private insurance systems. This responsibility would fit well with the FA’s original purpose, which is to act as the ‘insurer of last resort’ for high-risk drivers. The FA already operates uninsured motorist funds similar to the MVACF in the Atlantic Provinces.
The panel indicated that the new mandate should require FSRA to utilize its statutory authorities to adequately, firmly and consistently discourage fraudulent activities or behaviours that mislead or harm consumers and pension plan beneficiaries.
FSRA should be directed to identify and seek to eliminate gaps in protection for consumers who might be defrauded by licensed sales agents, brokers and corporations. FSRA should also have the authority to establish a fraud compensation fund such as exists in Quebec if or where enhancements to mandatory insurance coverage would not fully close current gaps.
There is no word from the government on implementing the panel’s recommendations.Read more →
Unlike the 2013 flood in southern Alberta, the Fort McMurray wildfire is a heavily insured event. Considering that property insurance got its roots in fire (indeed it used to be widely known as ‘fire insurance’, still is in certain circles,…Read more →
It is never a bad idea to consider an increase in limits. In light of the recent changes to the Ontario automobile insurance wording, an increase in limits may be particularly advisable when it comes to the medical, rehabilitation and…Read more →
Does the privacy consent on the last page of Ontario’s prescribed Application for Accident Benefits (OCF-1) form hold water? In Economical v. Fairview Assessment Centre, the insurer claimed fraud and misrepresentation against an assessment centre and various (alleged) treatment providers…Read more →
In an earlier blog, I discussed the impending changes to the Ontario automobile insurance product and the opportunity for brokers to demonstrate to their customers the value of a broker’s expert advice. There is another side to that coin. It…Read more →
Your professional development has never been more cutting-edge. Consider the fascinating research of Qui Trieu, manager of personal insurance at Perth Insurance, a wholly owned subsidiary of Economical Insurance. Qui (pronounced as ‘key’) is currently a candidate in the Insurance…Read more →
The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed the applications for leave to appeal from Lombard/Zurich in the “loss transfer laches” cases. Both insurers were trying to seek leave from the Court of Appeal of Ontario’s decision in November 2015, which…Read more →
FSCO’s latest quarterly rate approval numbers have been released and suggest that some savings have been accrued from the statutory accident benefit cuts that become effective on June 1.FSCO approved 50 private passenger automobile insurance rate filin…Read more →
A new standard automobile insurance policy will come into effect in Ontario on June 1st, 2016. Compared to the current wording, the new wording contains reductions in coverage, particularly with respect to Statutory Accident Benefits. As stated in a bulletin…Read more →
The Court of Appeal for Ontario has released an interesting decision concerning whether a plaintiff must exercise due diligence to discover a claim to avoid having it dismissed as time-barred. In Fennell v. Deol, the plaintiff was involved in a…Read more →
The Ontario Superior Court has held that an “excluded driver” under an auto policy is not a “listed driver” under the policy for the purpose of receiving accident benefits under the policy. In Dominion v. State Farm, the claimant was…Read more →
The Licence Appeal Tribunal (LAT) begins accepting applications to resolve auto insurance disputes on April 1, 2016. LAT has completed a first round of recruitment for adjudicators and case management staff. Adjudicators are Order-in-Counci…Read more →
Three years ago, I wrote an article about the status of electronic insurance cards. Despite the fact that smartphones, tablets and other technological gadgets are now part of everyday life, providing proof of auto insurance coverage is like a nos…Read more →
The Ontario Superior Court has released its first-ever decision on whether the notorious OPCF 16 (Suspension of Coverage) endorsement form is mandatory when an insured wishes to remove road coverage from their policy. Why would an insured want to remove their road…Read more →