December 1, 2003 by Canadian Underwriter
The concern over brokers facing limited market availability was among the issues faced this past year by the Registered Insurance Brokers of Ontario (RIBO). At its recent AGM, the organization’s outgoing president Art Langley notes, “2003 has been a difficult year for both consumers and brokers. Changes within our industry have put a lot of pressure on brokers to continue to find cost effective coverage for their clients.”
In both commercial and personal lines, but specifically in auto, brokers have come up against rising rates and limited capacity, with some brokers reduced to just one market for certain risks. “A limited market has sent many brokers scrambling to place their clients’ business,” Langley notes.
As a result, last fall RIBO organized a sub-committee to address market availability concerns. The group continues to work on policy in preparation to meet with regulators and broker associations for discussion. “We’ve taken a cautious approach to ensure that any action taken does not negatively impact consumers,” Langley explains.
But it is not only brokers who are feeling the pain of the hard market. “As a direct result of changes in the insurance marketplace, the RIBO office has seen an increase in calls from frustrated consumers,” he notes. However, many of these concerns fall outside RIBO’s jurisdiction, which is to oversee broker conduct, not rates. In the past year, RIBO has received more the 3,300 calls, he observes.
Another issue that topped the organization’s agenda in the past year is the federal privacy legislation, which the industry will become subject to in 2004. A package of privacy guidelines were developed and distributed to brokers, Langley notes. RIBO also recently held its annual planning meeting, and moving into 2004, it will be taking a preliminary look at an online system for broker license renewals.