Recent changes to the Insurance Act will increase consumer protection by requiring businesses that sell insurance products secondary to their primary business be licensed.
Businesses that sell incidental insurance, such as banks, car dealerships, credit unions and mortgage brokers, must now hold a Restricted Insurance Representative licence with the Financial and Consumer Services Commission (FCNB).
The new Restricted Insurance Representative licence is a limited insurance licence. It requires that those who engage in incidental selling of insurance are knowledgeable and accountable and that consumers are provided sufficient information to make an informed decision.
New Brunswick is the first province east of Manitoba to introduce such a licensing framework for businesses.
The changes, which came into effect on February 1, 2023, are part of the modernization of the Insurance Act, marking the first significant update in almost 30 years.
“In addition to modernizing the Insurance Act, these updates add a layer of consumer protection by ensuring that the businesses involved in the sale and servicing of insurance products are properly vetted,” says Robert Picard, FCNB’s acting director of Insurance.
Among the updates, Rule INS-001 Insurance Intermediaries Licensing and Obligations came into force, replacing several existing and outdated regulations. The Rule updates the licensing requirements for existing individual licensees, outlines supervision requirements and strengthens market conduct standards. It also introduces new licensing categories for insurance agencies, managing general agents, and adjusting firms.
Firms and businesses must become licensed by submitting the appropriate application through the FCNB licensing portal. Insurance agencies, managing general agents, and adjusting firms must apply for a licence by April 1, 2023, while those seeking to obtain a Restricted Insurance Representative licence must apply by May 1, 2023.
“We’ve communicated with insurance industry stakeholders, encouraging them to begin the application process,” says Picard.
New Brunswickers purchasing insurance should ensure the business or individual offering the insurance holds a valid licence with FCNB. Consumers can ask the individual or business that they are dealing with to see proof of their licence, or they can search FCNB’s database to verify the licence of an agent, broker or adjuster they are dealing with. A public database showing licensed agencies, managing general agents, adjusting firms and restricted insurance representatives will be made available later this year.
“New Brunswickers should be aware of the new licensing requirements and ensure they are working with a licensed insurance professional,” Picard said.
To learn more about the requirements for different insurance licences in New Brunswick, visit FCNB.ca. Licensees can stay up to date on licensing requirements by subscribing to email notifications. For any questions about the implementation of the Rules, contact the insurance division of FCNB at 866-933-2222 or by email at email@example.com.
Audio files of Robert Picard, acting director of insurance at FCNB
FCNB has the mandate to provide regulatory services that protect the public interest, enhance public confidence and promote understanding of the regulated sectors through educational programs. It is responsible for the administration and enforcement of provincial legislation regulating mortgage brokers, payday lenders, real estate, securities, insurance, pensions, credit unions, trust and loan companies, cooperatives, and a wide range of other consumer legislation. It is an independent Crown corporation funded by the regulatory fees and assessments paid by the regulated sectors. Online educational tools and resources are available at www.fcnb.ca.