Being in a regulated profession like insurance distribution – brokers and agents – means, by definition, that there are things one is obliged to do to comply with those rules. The environment, of course, keeps evolving and the social business aspect of social media is just one instance of the changing landscape.
As a set of communications channels and tools social media, just because it is new, does not mean that the requirement to comply does not exist there or that the rules are somehow different.
The Fall 2011 issue of the RIBO Bulletin – from the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario, a professional which is self-regulated in Ontario – contains an item about compliance which reads:
“We have seen an increase in the use of social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, etc.) for broker advertising/networking. We would like to take this opportunity to bring to your attention
Ontario Regulation 991, Section 15(1)(6) which states, “Holding oneself out or advertising by means of advertisements, cards, circulars, letterheads, signs, or other methods, or carrying on business in any
other manner than the name in which the individual or the corporation or partnership of which the individual is the designated representative is registered.”
Please ensure that the name/identity used within any social media complies with this section as the use of any other name would be an act of misconduct.
If you are uncertain on how to hold yourself out and require further clarification, please contact RIBO.”
Like anything else that is new we go through a learning curve, not only to determine what the “new” is all about and wherein lies the business potential, but also to discover where the practical – and in this case regulated – business boundaries lie.