Re: New financial services ombudsman wants greater enforcement powers,, November 10, 2015.

I read, with interest, this week’s coverage about Canada’s banking ombudsman (OBSI) wanting greater enforcement powers.

Canadians should be aware that OBSI is not our country’s only financial services ombudsman. The OmbudService for Life & Health Insurance (OLHI) is a national OmbudService for consumers with complaints about life and health insurance products. Each year, we handle over 2,400 insurance complaints involving disability, life, health benefits and insurance investments.

OLHI finds that non-binding recommendations are effective for us and our current powers are sufficient. Our process is fair and fast, avoiding the cost and delays of court in the vast majority of cases. When insurers settle through our voluntary ombuds process, consumers are paid quickly. In a binding process, such as that used by a court or a court-like process, consumers face extra steps including appeals and then collection — which isn’t guaranteed.

For us, a binding process would undermine our fundamental objective to provide quick and effective dispute resolution for consumers.

Holly Nicholson
Executive Director & General Counsel