The Ontario Ministry of Finance has received a letter from the Canadian Life & Health Insurance Association (CLHIA) regarding the province’s efforts to modernize the Insurance Act to permit the use of electronic communications in the insurance sector.

“Based on discussions with our members, the amendments that came into effect in 2022 to the Insurance Act have generally removed most of the barriers that had previously prevented electronic communications between insurers and their customers. The changes have contributed to a more positive and timely customer experience overall. We do, however, have two recommendations,” the association’s chief council, Kate Walker writes to Jeet Chatterjee, director of financial institutions policy with the Ministry of Finance.

Notice of insurance termination 

First, the association asks the government to permit the use of electronic communications for notice of insurance termination.

“Notice of the termination of an insurance contract is not permitted through the use of electronic means. We strongly support expanding the use of electronic communications to section 300.6(2) under the Insurance Act. Although this will result in a statutory condition that is non-harmonized at this time with other provincial insurance acts, we believe the change will be beneficial for consumers,” she writes.

Variable insurance contracts 

The association also asks the government to permit the use of electronic communications in variable insurance contracts and urges the government to allow insurers to continue using couriers as a means of communicating with clients who do not wish to receive communications electronically. 

Regarding variable insurance contracts, the association notes that it is already consulting with the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) on the matter. “We are recommending that electronic communications be expressly permitted to enable insurers to offer consumers fully digital communications,” they state. “We are including this recommendation only for the purpose of awareness at this time, as the work through the CCIR is ongoing and confidential.”