Canadian Underwriter

Man named in FSRA warning denies soliciting business for Sonnet

December 13, 2019   by Greg Meckbach

Ontario legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ontario government

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A Toronto man who told Canadian Underwriter he recommended direct writer Sonnet to some of his friends is denying allegations made by the Ontario insurance market conduct regulator that he actually solicited auto insurance through Sonnet.

“I am not soliciting any insurance through Sonnet or any other company,” the man said in an e-mail to Canadian Underwriter. “I did recommended Sonnet to some of my friends as they bought new cars and it was an online company.”

Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) issued a press release Wednesday warning the public about a man who is not licensed to conduct insurance business in Ontario. FSRA said he appears to have a bricks and mortars location on Finch Avenue in Toronto. The man named in the release “is not licensed with FSRA and is not affiliated or associated with Sonnet Insurance, which is licensed by FSRA,” the regulator’s press release notes.

Ontario legislature at Queen's Park in Toronto, Ontario government

Sonnet, which bills itself as “Canada’s 100% online” insurer, was launched in 2016 by Economical Insurance for the express purpose of letting consumers buy home and auto insurance directly through Sonnet’s website.

Asked how FSRA found out about the individual named in the release, a FSRA spokesperson said the regulator “was alerted through its standard complaint intake process.”

Asked whether the complaint was from someone who became suspicious that a person was soliciting insurance for a 100% online brand, the spokesperson replied: “No. We released warning notices regarding two unlicensed individuals; one was associated with a 100% online brand.”

FSRA periodically warns the public about unlicenced individuals purporting to represent insurance companies. FRSA licenses agents who may sell, life, accident and sickness or general insurance. The Registered Insurance Brokers Association (RIBO) licenses brokers. Both FRSA and RIBO let consumers enter a person’s name on a web form and find out whether that person is licenced.

Canadian Underwriter sent an email to a person sharing the same name as the person cited in FSRA’s release. The person who responded denied FSRA’s allegations, saying that he is no longer recommending Sonnet, reportedly because the insurer denied some people’s claims.

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