The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has published the Consumer Advisory Panel 2020 Annual Report, outlining the consultation FSRA has engaged in with some consumers during the January-December 2020 period. 

The report reveals some of the regulator’s priorities for the industry, including work on title protection, a number of other proposed rules and a review of the relationships managing general agencies (MGAs) have with various stakeholders in the industry. 

The nine-member panel of consumers – directors, executives, lawyers and board members – all generally work in investor and pensioner protection, insurance reform, financial services, law and academia. “The members have extensive leadership and experience in representing consumer interests in Ontario and Canada,” FSRA says. Its annual report outlines the panel’s key priorities in 2020 and discusses the information FSRA has presented to the panel in the past year. The advisory body’s role is to provide external input to proposed policy-related matters and changes.

During the year, the panel held four meetings, engaged the public in consultation about the Financial Professionals Title Protection Rule and Guidance and engaged in various meetings on ad hoc topics with select panel members. FSRA also presented overviews of its initiatives to the panel during the year.

Risk management of MGAs 

In insurance, the panel considered FSRA’s efforts to harmonize its Fair Treatment of Customers (FTC) standards with the national guidelines adopted jointly by the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) and Canadian Insurance Services Regulatory Organizations (CISRO). It additionally reviewed the regulators’ insurance supervisory approach for 2021: Areas of focus in the life and health insurance sector include title protection rules, FTC rules, life agent reporting forms (LARFs) and “a thematic review” of the insurer-MGA relationship, “to assess effective governance and risk management of MGAs, as well as identify potential gaps between the roles of insurance companies, MGAs and independent agents.” 

More insurance-related topics discussed included the industry’s COVID-19 response, a review of activities and practices by insurers and brokers that may be contravening the Take-All-Comers Rule, FSRA’s new approach to communicating auto insurance rate approvals and the regulator’s two-stage process for transitioning to an Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP) rule. The regulator and the consumer advisory board also discussed mortgage brokering, credit unions, pensions, FSRA’s service standards, enforcement transparency and case prioritization, consumer engagement and FSRA’s preliminary work on disgorgement, complaints resolution and whistleblowers.

“The panel’s 2021 term is now underway,” the report says. “Building on its foundational effort from the inaugural term, the panel will continue to play a prominent role in providing advice to FSRA from a consumer perspective.”