As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting implications on our brokerage members, I wanted to share with you a few timely updates:
This afternoon, the Government of Saskatchewan released a comprehensive list of critical public services and business services that will be permitted to continue operating during the Province's COVID-19 response. The news release can be found here .
I am pleased to report that insurance services are, in fact, designated on that list as an 'allowable business service.' IBAS had submitted a joint letter with the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) yesterday advocating for this position.
While — through this announcement — brokerages are permitted to remain open, our members are strongly encouraged to adopt a 'remote work' strategy wherever possible. In limited instances, where specific operational or customer service functions cannot be performed remotely, in-person interactions must be carried out with the utmost care and safety, in accordance with provincial social distancing directives . Please follow the instructions of public health authorities to minimize risk to your staff and the public.
Given the heightened frequency and volume of information distributed by insurance companies over the past few weeks, IBAS has created a central page on its website where you can find recent bulletins that carriers have issued related to the COVID-19 crisis.
You can access this page by visiting www.ibas.ca/bulletins.html.
Please note this is a 'members-only' section of our website and, as such, you will require your username and password. If you have lost your login information, or if you do not have an account setup, please e-mail Kyle Halvorson at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Although there are a few carriers from which we have not yet received bulletins for posting, please check back often, as this page will be updated daily or as communications are received.
In response to several questions we have received from members, we have confirmed with the General Insurance Council of Saskatchewan (GICS) that there is nothing in legislation or GICS's Designated Representative Handbook that specifically states how a brokerage must supervise its licensees — only that they provide the appropriate supervision and oversight, which will likely be one of the biggest challenges facing members in the fast transition to a remote work environment.
This may be done in several different ways, including (but not limited to) videoconferencing, teleconferencing, reviewing of documents online or by e-mail, and ensuring that detailed notes are taken and added to the office's broker management system.
The DR can also delegate their duties to others, which allows for first-line supervision to be done by any Level 2 or Level 3 staff that the DR feels is qualified to supervise.
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, GICS is postponing the deployment of its audit strategy and related self-assessment questionnaires. At this time, no timetable has been set to resume this rollout.
As always, we're here to help. If you have a question related to this crisis you would like us to find an answer to, or input on how we can better support your brokerage, shoot us a note using this easy online form .
Thank you for your continued support. Stay safe and healthy!
Chief Executive Officer
Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan