Quebec National Assembly exterior

Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitão has proposed a change to the province’s new Insurers Act to clarify the language relating to rules surrounding the online sale of insurance.

During a Public Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday, Leitão proposed to amend section 67 of Bill 141: An act mainly to improve the regulation of the financial sector, the protection of deposits of money and the operation of financial institutions. The bill, which was tabled in October 2017, features almost 500 pages of proposed amendments to dozens of laws, including a new framework enabling the online distribution of insurance.

The original version of Bill 141 specifies that in cases in which clients purchase insurance policies without an advisor, “the insurer must also see that the client, if the client so desires, can communicate with a natural person.”

On Wednesday, Leitão proposed to eliminate that sentence, explaining that the reference to the term “natural person” was unclear.

Instead, he proposes to add section 71.1 to section 487 of the act respecting the distribution of financial products and services. That section would stipulate that a firm may offer products and services without the intervention of a natural person, yet that firm must take the necessary measures to ensure that its representatives are available to clients who express the need to speak with someone. In addition, the firm must inform its clients that representatives are available.

The change would clarify that firms must have a registered representative available to assist clients, rather than simply any staff member.

In addition, the amendment would stipulate that firms must make clients aware that they can speak with an advisor if needed rather than simply having to make someone available when clients ask.

With files from Léonie Laflamme-Savoie