Canadian Underwriter

Multiple access points for single customer to obtain electronic communications could be detrimental to Ontario consumer: IBAO

June 16, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Creating multiple access points for a single consumer to obtain electronic communications, including e-documents, could be detrimental to the Ontario consumer, the Insurance Brokers Association of Ontario (IBAO) argued in a position paper released on Thursday.

IBAO released the paper, titled Electronic Communication with the Ontario Consumer, in light of the recent 2017 budget from the provincial government, specifically that “insurers offer a discount to policyholders who choose to receive documents electronically.” In a press release on Thursday, the IBAO said that “insurance company platforms must allow brokers the option of providing electronic documents through a broker-chosen solution – a component that’s imperative in providing consistent service models to consumers.”

“Insurance companies across Ontario are launching or have launched consumer service portals and mobile applications to provide their policyholders access to information electronically, including proof of insurance,” said IBAO president Traci Boland in the release. “While we applaud these initiatives, we must ensure that the primary vehicle for electronic communication with consumers is provided by insurance brokers.”

The association’s CEO, Colin Simpson, added that “if accessed directly by consumers, insurance company solutions will lead to multiple avenues for individual consumer communication. Creating multiple access points for a single consumer to obtain electronic communications, including e-documents, could be detrimental to the Ontario consumer. Not only will it cause confusion if consumers have different company policies and avenues to access them, it’ll create a fragmented consumer experience and ultimately dilute the broker-consumer value proposition and collective broker brand,” Simpson argued.

The paper went on to say that “the inefficiencies that will be introduced through multiple insurance company solutions within a broker’s office will restrict the broker’s ability to evolve digitally through added complexity and hinder our efforts to modernize the broker distribution channel for the Ontario consumer upon which so many of our business partners rely.”

Looking forward, the IBAO said that it intends to present its members with a “comprehensive technology road map” to help them identify how to evolve their digital relationship with customers and, at a minimum, to ensure they can service their customers electronically by this coming fall.

Simpson added in the release that the IBAO is “dedicated to finding solutions that efficiently deliver customer information the way customers want to receive it. We’re having many positive conversations with our insurance company partners on their consumer service strategies. More information will become available as we progress in these joint efforts.”

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