June 13, 2004 by Canadian Underwriter
With the introduction of provincial privacy legislation in Alberta, adjusters in that province are reconciling these requirements with the federal privacy act.
The Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) has been deemed to be substantively similar to the federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), thus clearing the way for the provincial legislation to supercede PIPEDA when it comes to sharing of information within Alberta’s borders.
However, the provincial act does not allow for the exemption of adjusters from certain provisions by conferring “investigative body” status, notes Jim Eso, president of the Canadian Independent Adjusters Association (CIAA). That said, “it (PIPA) is a little bit more broad in terms of what you can do in the first place,” he explains. The sense is that if adjusters are compliant with PIPEDA, they should not have a problem with PIPA in general. The only area where this may not be true is in the investigation of fraud or breach of contract situations.
However, Eso is comforted by the Alberta Office of the Privacy Commissioner designating one staff member to deal with insurance issues specifically that staff member is a former claims person, he adds. In fact, Eso says it would be a positive step if every province were to install such a staff member.
The Alberta act is just the first stage, he also says, noting that the CIAA was aware that PIPEDA would just be a starting point on which provincial legislation in various jurisdictions would be added. “For our members what this shows is the importance of our association,” he says, as it helps to educate adjusters and advocate on their behalf as each jurisdiction develops its own privacy legislation.
CIAA will also be at the table with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), as an observer at CSA meetings relative to potential future changes to the model privacy code on which PIPEDA is based.