SaskBroker Magazine > The National Voice of Insurance Brokers

The National Voice of Insurance Brokers

By Peter Braid, CEO, Insurance Brokers Association of Canada
Posted on October 14, 2021

Effective federal advocacy is a continuous process that is based on building and reinforcing strong relationships with Parliamentarians at both the local and national levels. These connections enable the Insurance Broker Association of Canada (IBAC) to successfully leverage the collective voice of 38,000 insurance brokers to advance key issues that support insurance consumers, brokers, and the overall industry.

The Bank Act

IBAC’s primary mandate is to ensure that Canada’s Bank Act continues to uphold the separation of the pillars of banking and insurance. IBAC was founded on this principle a century ago, and we carry on this fight today.

Section 416 of the Bank Act contains consumer protection measures that prohibit banks from selling insurance at the point of granting credit when consumers may be vulnerable to undue pressure. We remain vigilant to ensure that these important provisions are maintained, and we intervene when they appear to be threatened.

The last Bank Act review in 2018 resulted in new provisions for fintechs. IBAC supports technological advancements, but we were concerned that the strong protections in the Bank Act may be diluted. We engaged with Finance Canada from the early stages to ensure that the new fintech regulations would not change the provisions prohibiting a bank from providing prescribed customer information to an insurance company. Having seen the draft regulations, we are optimistic that our intervention will be successful when the regulations are finalized in the coming months.

Open Banking (also known as consumer-directed finance) has also been on our radar screen. IBAC believes that existing consumer protection measures, including the separation of banking and insurance, must be upheld in an Open Banking environment. We provided a written submission to the government consultation and a recently released Open Banking report responds to our concerns, recommending that “banking data should not be used for underwriting insurance policies as part of the initial scope of open banking.” The possibility of using banking data for insurance in a later phase raises a red flag, and IBAC will continue to monitor this issue.

Small Business Advocacy

Many insurance brokerages are family-owned and operated. IBAC contributes the broker voice on federal legislation that impacts small businesses.

We advocated strongly for Private Member’s Bill C-208, which eliminates the previous tax penalties for the inter-generational transfer of small businesses and creates a level playing field for the succession of family-owned brokerages. IBAC representatives appeared before the Standing Committee on Finance, encouraging MPs to endorse the bill. A support letter was sent to Senators on the Standing Senate Committee on Agriculture and Forestry, and proactive social media amplified the importance of this legislation.

Bill C-208 ultimately passed and received Royal Assent in June 2021 — a clear demonstration of the power of federal advocacy on issues that directly affect brokers across the country.

Your Voice in Ottawa

IBAC’s annual Advocacy Day on Parliament Hill is the most visible aspect of our ongoing advocacy efforts. This is a strategically important part of our federal advocacy program — a prime opportunity to keep insurance brokers top-of-mind with Parliamentarians, and to promote our key messages. For the first time ever, IBAC’s Hill Day/Week took place in a virtual format for 2021. Over the course of the week, broker delegates from across Canada met virtually with approximately 60 MPs and Senators, including members of the Finance Committee and key people in the Finance Minister’s Office.

The success of this event year after year reflects the excellent reputation that IBAC has built throughout successive federal governments. Thank you to all the broker volunteers who participate in this annual effort.

Positioned for Success

The secret to IBAC’s successful advocacy is the involvement of insurance brokers in virtually every city and town across Canada. Members of Parliament value the input and perspective of individuals who live and work in their riding, are engaged with their community, and who are politically active at all levels.

IBAC encourages all brokers to support national advocacy by taking an interest in the issues that directly affect you and your profession. Get to know your elected representatives. Make sure they understand the important contributions that brokers make to the economy and the community and highlight the work that we do to protect insurance consumers. These are compelling messages.