Online Insurance Business Regulations Balance Marketplace Competition and Consumer Choice

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Calgary, October 11, 2011 – At the office of a Calgary insurance broker the Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance), today announced government regulations that prohibit the promotion and sale of unauthorized insurance products by banks on their web pages.

“We want to ensure the Bank Act reflects the new reality of online banking, to avoid attempts by banks to do on their web sites what they are prohibited from doing at their branches,” said Minister Menzies. “We must make sure there is a level playing field where small businesses can compete, thrive and create jobs, which is why our Government announced that we would, at the earliest opportunity, ensure that banks are legally prohibited from selling and promoting unauthorized insurance products on their banking web pages.”

“The Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) is pleased to see the publication of regulations by the Government of Canada that will further protect Canadian consumers of insurance,” said Dan Danyluk, Chief Executive Officer of IBAC. “We applaud the Government of Canada for taking a strong stand in favour of consumer choice.”

In order to ensure competition for financial products, current federal regulations prohibit banks from promoting or selling unauthorized insurance products in their branches. However, in recent years, some banks have acted to promote and sell unauthorized insurance products through their web pages.

Following a public consultation in early 2011, the Government proposed a range of technical amendments to the Insurance Business Regulations to prohibit these online activities.

“These regulations strike a balance between limiting the types of insurance banks are allowed to sell and promote on their web pages and providing consumers choice and transparency in their dealings with financial product providers,” said Minister Menzies. “This will ensure fair competition and allow Canadians to make the best choice when buying insurance products such as life and health insurance.”

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