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The draft law will force the industry to reinvent the sale of insurance ; access to the council must remain


Alain Castonguay

April 24, 2018 07:00

Eric Stevenson, Marie-Lucie Paradis, Alain Hade, and Christopher Johnson | Photo : Réjean Meloche

What impact will the adoption of the draft law 141 and 150 on the sale of insurance in Quebec ? Impossible to define it precisely for the time being, but trends emerge. Access to the board remains of paramount importance.

During his panel’s closing, the Day of the general insurance has invited the industry to project to J+1 of the adoption of the draft law, that is, the day after their entry into force. Solutions for reinventing marketing methods have been presented.

Eric Stevenson, a partner at Lavery, has been superintendent of the assistance to clients and the supervision of the distribution of financial products and services to thefinancial markets Authority. He led the early work of reflection on the distribution of insurance via the Internet in 2012, from the request made by an insurer with the Authority. “We have seen the complexities,” he says.

By conducting this exercise, the regulator has always had in mind the guiding principle that technology must be at the service of individuals. Service providers may use any means, but the central element remains the council, ” added Mr Stevenson.

The technology will continue to evolve, and the regulator cannot ignore the new practices in the market every time a new gadget is needed. “The principle is simple : when the client needs advice, regardless of the entry point, it must have access to it “, he insists.

Changes in the continuity

From his side, Marie-Lucie Paradis, who was recently appointed to the position of vice-president, distribution and strategic communications at Intact Insurancestresses that the changes will be adopted in the continuity of his business. “The customer is at the heart of our distribution strategy for a long time,” she said.

The tools are adapted according to the needs of customers. Since 2017, the work of the laboratory data of the insurer allow you to use the artificial intelligence to facilitate interactions with the customer. “All of our efforts of research and development push us to improve the network brokerage,” she said.

According to Alain Hade, senior vice president, experience members-customers, and marketing at Desjardins general insurance Group (DGIG), the perception persists regarding the disuse of the practices of some insurers in a large number of consumers. “In fact, it has begun to evolve for several years,” he says.

Since December, the client who wishes to purchase an auto insurance online can complete the exercise without talking to an intermediary at Desjardins. The complete sales made by this tool remain low. “People still want to talk to an agent or a broker “, he notes, acknowledging that the online subscription will be bigger. Insurers should make greater use of technology to facilitate interaction with customers. “This is what they ask for,” he says.

Take advantage of the innovation

Chairman of the board of directors of the Regroupement des cabinets de courtage d’assurance du Québec (RCCAQ), Christopher Johnson asserts that the most innovative will take advantage of this new digital reality. His own firm is already using an online subscription tool.

The customer expects his complaint to be admissible, especially if he was not asked a lot of questions before purchasing the risk. In his opinion, the subscription to fast could have a significant impact. If too many claims are rejected, the image of the industry will suffer, which will not be good for anyone, both for the brokers and agents, he insists.

It was good to improve the customer experience, ” continues Mr. Johnson. “At midnight, if the client decides that he wants to change his bank account to pay his premium, he should be able to do it through the website of the broker. This frees up time for the dealers that can perform tasks that are more profitable. “

Avoid problems in the compensation

In a concept of purchasing insurance online, that can make the product manufacturers to offer products suitable to the needs of the customers, if they do not speak to an intermediary ?

“No insurer wants to play a reputation for poor delivery of service that would result from the subscription without the help of an intermediary,” says Alain Hade. He said that the Authority has already issued guidelines to the practices of sale on the Internet.

At Desjardins, the insurer has a process of quality assurance, has developed websites that are efficient and invests in research and development to continue to improve the tools. “We give the means to analyse and better use of the information transmitted by the client “, said Mr. Hade.

There appears to be a mismatch between the profile of the customer and the protection used, it is called the client. “The last thing you want is to have problems at the stage of compensation,” says Mr. Hade.

With its long experience on the side of the compensation at Intact, Marie-Lucie Paradis noted that the settlement of claims is at the centre of the business processes of the insurer. “We will never take this aspect lightly. Build a brand, it cost a lot of dollars, ” she said. The increased efficiency of digital tools allows the certified representative of focus on the activities that add value to its service offering, ” she continues.

The case of Marcel

Christopher Johnson quotes the case of a fictitious customer, Marcel, 59 years old, who ” has been encouraged by his brother-in-law to buy their insurance on the Internet because it is cheaper “. Marcel complete the process quickly, but he forgets to mention that he derives income part-time from his talents as a mechanic with his garage staff. “He has not understood the question on earnings “, he suggests.

Of course, this omission becomes important in the wake of a disaster. “I have a question for the insurers. Are you going to pay all the claims to protect your reputation ? “says Mr. Johnson.

There will be turbulence, ” he stressed, citing the particular case and highly publicized of the teacher and author Samuel Archibald, who has created large ripples in the group insurance industry. “Stories of the kind of David vs. Goliath, there will be. As we know, the broker must often make the defense of the interests of his client in a claim “, he adds.

“We must always ensure that the customer understands the product and the protections afforded, and this, even if the transaction is done over the phone or in person,” recalls Marie-Lucie Paradis.

Insurers may, for example, limit the choice of coverage at the first subscription. “There will always be problem cases at the stage of compensation,” she said. Sales through the Internet does not mean that everything is allowed, as the process remains properly regulated by the regulator, ” she continues.

According to Eric Stevenson, it is likely that the fictitious customer Mr. Johnson is familiar with the need to protect its heritage. Younger consumers are more careless in this regard.

“They are in a hurry and they think they have no need of council. It is a challenge. Your brand is worth something. The client must understand that he does not buy plane tickets to go to Punta Cana, but essential products to cover its most important assets, ” he says.

A trend well established

Bernard Laporte, CEO ofIntergroup Insurance, points out that the netherlands (20 %) and the Uk (15 %), the underwriting of insurance products online is already a trend well established. According to him, the youngest clients (aged 35 and less) are more on the lookout for the premium as low as possible.

“If you buy a pair of shoes online, and that one is not satisfied, it returns it. For an insurance policy, it is at the stage of the claim that we discover the problems, ” says Mr. Laporte. Of course, the best use of technology tools is a real need, but the customer experience, it is much more than access through the Internet. “

To bear the burden of proof in case of refusal

According to Alain Hade, the technology can also improve the stage of the settlement of a claim. “The use of the Internet is not going to upset the system,” he says.

Using the example suggested by Christopher Johnson, Mr. Hade indicated that the insurers will bear the burden of proof if they want to deny a claim. “If you don’t ask the right question to Marcel for he informs us correctly, we are not going to penalize,” he says, noting that such is the position of the insurer he represents.

Eric Stevenson points out that during the consultations in recent years relating to the distribution by the Internet, made also at the national level, the insurers wanted to know the limits of their responsibility. “Make sure that the client has understood, that stops where ? “, asked the insurers to the regulators.

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