Canadian Underwriter

Is online the best way for consumers to buy insurance?

January 13, 2022   by Canadian Underwriter Staff

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A small portion of consumers want to buy insurance online without talking to somebody, Robyn Young, CEO of Excel & Y Insurance Services, told Canadian Underwriter in an interview for the December-January issue.

“Do I think that’s the best way to buy insurance? No,” said Young, who took over this past September as president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC).

She noted there is a hybrid solution: Somebody could get their information and their quote online and still talk to a broker to make sure that they’re making an educated choice in their purchase decision.

“I think that there’s value for a consumer when they have an opportunity to do their quote online, to say what insurance coverage they want online,” she added, “but then to have a conversation with a broker to make sure that all of their needs are covered.”

While some consumers want the insurance-buying process to be as easy as choosing which show to watch on Netflix, there are potential consequences of choosing to buy insurance that way.

“In most provinces, the compulsory auto liability coverage is still ridiculously low,” she said. “I would be a terrible insurance broker if I ever sold you a $200,000 auto liability policy, but the reality is that I can sell it.”

A consumer buying insurance online might be given an option to buy only $200,000 in liability because that’s the legal minimum.

“If that’s a possibility, then that client is never going to be purchasing adequate auto insurance,” she said. “If they have [an auto liability claim], it’s going to be very significant for them.”


This article is adapted from one that appeared in the December-January issue of Canadian Underwriter.

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