Start the Conversation

These amendments are beneficial because you are given an opportunity to help your clients.

This year’s auto insurance reform elevates a brokers’ role in the insurance transaction. Due to the changes–and the impact the changes have on a policyholder’s coverage–a broker is now in a better position to educate their clients and build relationships.

The overhaul of the Statutory Accident and Benefits Schedule (SABS) means drivers may see a reduction in coverage. The onus is on the broker/agent to help clients understand these changes and to identify those parts of standard coverage that are now considered an optional upgrade. “The changes are quite specific and require in-depth conversations about individual needs,” advises Paul Taylor, operations director for IBAO.

Judy Bell of Beyond Insurance Brokers, Inc. in Whitby, Ont., says it is often best to presume clients know nothing of what’s available to them, and to start the conversation by gathering very detailed and personal information.

“There is no square peg fitting into a round hole,” says Bell. “When we have clients come in, we make sure they have the time to talk. We go through the coverage available. We ask them the questions to determine if they need additional coverage. We do this every day.”

The communications working group at FSCO has spent months making sure language around the auto insurance changes is consistent.

“For the first little while, it’s probably best to refer to the standardized forms and information sheets provided,” explains Taylor. “We spent many hours debating, for example, whether to use ‘standard policy’ or ‘basic policy’ to refer to the minimum level of coverage that will now be available.” He adds, “Even a slight deviation from the use of our agreed-upon term–standard policy–may unintentionally create confusion among consumers.”

Brokers are reminded that “Under the Insurance Act the broker is required by law to offer all the various options to the consumer,” states Taylor. “In the instance where a client gets into an accident and doesn’t remember declining coverage, it’s very important that the broker has kept good records of this.”

Because there will be so many more options available to the consumer under the new regulations, this may require a streamlining of the tracking process, so that insurance agents always have the information at hand.

Judy Bell, Beyond Insurance Brokers, Inc.

© Copyright 2010 Rogers Publishing Ltd. This article first appeared in the April 2010 edition of Canadian Insurance Top Broker magazine.

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