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What Consumers Should Expect from a General Insurance Broker

The Broker/Consumer Relationship

Let's face it, the reason you purchase insurance is to protect what you own in the event of a claim. The type of insurance you purchase depends on your needs. Insurance for the person falls under Life Insurance. Insurance for property, auto, business and liability, is referred to as Property & Casualty (P&C) or General Insurance. As a consumer of P&C insurance, it is in your interest to find a suitable P&C broker to handle your needs. It is your responsibility to be candid with your broker about your situation and to provide all relevant information about the items you wish to insure. If you do not fully disclose this information, it is possible that your P&C broker may unknowingly offer products that are not matched properly to your insurance requirements. That means, in the event of a claim, you may not have the correct coverage protection.

  • Don't be afraid to take the time to meet with several P&C brokers to find the right individual.
  • You should feel comfortable that your broker understands your requirements, and has the expertise to provide the protection that's right for you.
  • All brokers in Alberta are required to have a valid license for the type of insurance they sell.
  • In addition, IBAA member brokers abide by a customer pledge which reflects the principles set out below.
  • You should always ask questions to ensure you understand the products or services that you are purchasing
  • Ask questions to help avoid any potential misunderstandings about the information that is being presented to you. After all, you work hard to be able to purchase your belongings - you should feel that you have the best possible protection available at a cost that's right for you.
  • An insurance purchase is about protection, not price. Your policy is custom-tailored to meet your specific needs, like a custom-made suit. It fits you, not your neighbour, because your needs are unique. You can always choose cheaper coverage, but make sure you understand what you are sacrificing to save dollars. Is the cheaper price worth the loss of protection?

Consumers Should Always Expect Fair Practices

  1. Your interests come first, before the interests of P&C brokers and the companies they deal with.
  2. If you choose to have a P&C broker, you should expect to have your P&C insurance needs assessed by that individual and, when he or she makes a recommendation, to be offered products that meet your needs.
  3. You should expect a P&C broker to enable your purchasing decision solely based on the attributes of the insurance product or service being offered, including the value of the services of the P&C broker.
  4. You should expect your instructions to be carried out faithfully. Your P&C broker must not transact business that is unlawful.
  5. You should expect your transactions to be handled with professionalism by a qualified P&C broker. If you have any doubts, you may inquire about the P&C broker’s qualifications or conduct with the appropriate regulatory body.
  6. You should expect to have your personal information safeguarded and used only for the purpose for which it was originally collected, unless you have given permission for it to be used for other reasons. Your personal information may be divulged without your consent to law enforcement agencies when required or authorized by law.
  7. If you choose to have a P&C broker, you should expect to be informed if he or she has a “conflict of interest” and be given the opportunity to halt further dealings with him or her.
  8. You are entitled to receive all relevant information before making a decision about a financial product. Such information includes product features, risks, and benefits, and the company(ies) involved.
  9. You should expect to have any complaints dealt with in a timely and forthright manner. In the event that a dispute with your P&C broker cannot be resolved, you should be given information about available avenues for resolving your complaint.

(This Consumer’s Guide to Property and Casualty (P&C) Insurance Transactions is endorsed by the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta (IBAA) and the Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC))


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