Modernizing auto regulation for Ontarians

Insurance leaders are confident Ontario’s new regulator will understand the industry’s urgency to meet shifting client needs

Modernizing auto regulation for Ontarians


By Joe Rosengarten

The recent appointment of the first board of directors for the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA) has been met with strong support from Canada’s insurance leaders.

The board, which will play an integral role in structuring Ontario’s new regulator, was announced by Minister of Finance Charles Sousa and will include financial industry veterans Bryan Davies (Chair), Kathryn Bouey and Judith Robertson.

Insurance companies are eager to meet changing customer expectations and offer fully immersed digital experiences, but, unfortunately, the regulatory framework has not kept up. In Canada, regulatory constraints have prevented the insurance industry from embracing and implementing cutting edge technology as quickly as it should.

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As a direct result, the insurance industry trails far behind other sectors in terms of the consumer experience it provides. FSRA, and its new flexible approach to regulation, could be the catalyst for innovation the industry badly needs.

“Modernizing financial service regulation is critical to building a stronger Ontario,” Sousa said. “The new Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario will ensure consumers and investors are well protected in the complex and changing nature of financial decisions.”

It is hoped that Ontario’s new regulator will understand the insurance industry’s need to be creative and use the latest technology in order to meet shifting client needs. The industry needs a regulatory framework that permits the use of technology to improve service, offer convenience and increase affordability.

“The current discussions in Ontario concerning the regulatory structure and the approach, to the auto sector in particular, offer a chance to re-visit the existing approach to deliver a market which focusses on delivering better outcomes for customers and indeed for the industry,” says Karin Ots, SVP, Regulatory and Government Relations at Aviva Canada. “If the UK experience is a good indicator, that journey may take time and persistence.”

Ots believes that, as digitization grows, moving toward a more customer-centric approach is essential for both regulators and insurance companies. One thing is for certain: customers in Ontario deserve – and need – a better functioning, more efficient marketplace. Although there is a long way to go, Ots is encouraged by Ontario’s move toward a new regulatory framework.

“The thoughtful and careful approach being taken offers the opportunity to learn lessons, good and bad, from elsewhere and to develop a stronger and more effective market as a result,” Ots says. “Active engagement, using a range of approaches including rule setting, focussing on competition and active engagement must be the right holistic approach to achieving good market outcomes.”

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Aviva CEO – “We want to turn Aviva into a fintech”

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