July 18, 2011 by Canadian Underwriter
Alberta’s department of finance and enterprise has outlined changes to the Alberta Insurance Act that will go into effect on July 1, 2012.
Legislative amendments to the act include the following:
•Legislation will require statutory conditions to be incorporated into multi-peril property contracts. “This will provide clarity for future claims,” the government says in a press release announcing the changes.
•The timeframe to initiate an action has been increased from the current one-year timeframe to two years. This is consistent with the Limitation Act.
•The dispute resolution process, currently referred to as the “appraisal procedure,” will be amended to strengthen consumer protection in a claims dispute.
•Electronic transactions will be allowed permitting insurers and policyholders to use modern business practices and technology. (There will be some exceptions where written transactions will still be required to protect consumer interest. For example, the cancellation of an insurance policy or the change of a beneficiary.)
•An individual insured under a group life or accident and sickness policy will be able to obtain a copy of the group insurance policy, excluding any parts containing confidential information. Currently, the individual can access a certificate with very limited information about the insurance.
•The regulatory process will be streamlined for hail insurers with the removal of the requirement to file hail insurance commission and premium rates.
In addition to the above and other legislative amendments, the government also announced changes to the regulations. Among them, the Fair Practices Amendment Regulation “includes new consumer protection provisions that will require insurance companies, their agents and adjusters to provide full and clear disclosure of dispute resolution processes and limitation periods to clients who have initiated insurance claims,” the province notes on the Web site of its finance and enterprise department.
“The regulation includes the permitted exclusions that can be included in property insurance policy wordings to exclude coverage for damages caused by a fire.
“It also includes a provision permitting a person to apply to a court for an order for an advance payment on a personal injury claim being negotiated with an insurance company.”
A full list of legislative amendments and regulatory changes can be found at: