Group benefits advisors urged to stay vigilant about G19

By Susan Yellin | May 27 2019 01:30PM

Members of a benefits and retirement advisor group are being encouraged to remain vigilant about the future of G19 following recent comments made by the head of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) that the disclosure guideline has been misinterpreted.

In an interview with Insurance Journal in mid-May, CLHIA president Stephen Frank said G19 was “misunderstood” and “voluntary” for member companies to implement.

His comments follow months of meetings between the CLHIA and advisors across the country who were caught by surprise by the guideline that would have some advisors – mostly those who are independent – disclose to their clients the various kinds of compensation they receive.

Dave Patriarche, a member of the advisor group and founder of the Canadian Group Insurance Brokers, has said advisors are not opposed to disclosure, just to who is demanding it.

In a recent email sent to group members, Patriarche said he has reached out to regulators and legislators with the group’s concerns about a trade association like CLHIA acting as a regulator “with a predictable result being harm to consumer[s] through reduced access to independent advisors (the only target of G19).

“The receptiveness from these offices to our concerns has been encouraging and the interactions are ongoing. Collectively, we must be respectful of these offices and their roles. This means staying on message about our support for fair, holistic and principles-based compensation disclosure; a level competitive playing field for all market participants relative to these guidelines or policies; access to independent advice for consumers [and] participation by all stakeholders in the process.”

While Frank’s comments indicate the CLHIA may be moving away from implementing the rule as it is currently crafted, Patriarche cautions advisors not to take the statement at face value. He encourages the group to circulate his emails to associates in the business and register as a member with the group as soon as possible.

While a number of advisors are not pleased with G19 in its current form, Patriarche says there are also indications that some CLHIA members feel the same way.

“That is not to say that we will necessarily see changes come down the line from CLHIA but it does indicate that our collective and consistent stance is being heard and acted upon at the member company level,” Patriarche says in his email.  

In the Insurance Journal story, Frank said G19 is consistent with previous guidelines and targets all advisors, not just independent advisors or those who are part of a career network.

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