The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) today published the 2019 Insurer Disclosure Analysis Report – The offering of insurance products by automobile and recreational and leisure vehicle dealers in Québec (pdf – 703 KB). The report provides a current of this market and confirms the need for the AMF to continue its actions to improve existing commercial practices and better protect consumers.
The data collected by the AMF for 2019 shows that, despite some improvement, four main issues persist with respect to commercial practices:
- Concerning levels of remuneration for the distribution network
- Limited added value for consumers in the case of Q.P.F. No. 5 products owing to the high price paid in the dealer distribution network
- A high claim denial rate for debtor life, health and employment (DLHE) insurance products
- Issues related to the premium refund in the event of policy cancellation
“The problems and issues exposed by this report are almost identical to those raised by the AMF last June in its 2016-2018 analysis report on insurance products offered through vehicle dealers,” said AMF President and CEO Louis Morisset. “In light of the report’s findings, the AMF will continue to increase its actions to address improper commercial practices still engaged in by certain business managers, dealers and insurers in this market.”
The AMF took various actions in the past few months to clean up practices in this sector:
- Intervened to end the practice, now prohibited by regulation, of paying dealers a bonus or a shares in the profits
- Conducted supervisory activities focused on compliance with the recently implemented regulatory prohibitions
- Required five insurers to intervene with 45 dealers to address consumer dissatisfactions involving offers of insurance
The AMF reminds the public that it recently announced various penal proceedings in three matters:
- The AMF has launched penal proceedings in the judicial district of Rimouski against 9147-1227 Québec inc. (doing business as Mont-Joli Chrysler Jeep Dodge) and Stéphanie Dugas.
The proceedings consist of two counts: one count against 9147-1227 Québec inc. of having, through Stéphanie Dugas, exercised undue pressure on a customer or used fraudulent tactics to induce the customer to purchase a financial product or service, and one count against Stéphanie Dugas of exercising undue pressure on a customer or using fraudulent tactics to induce the customer to purchase a financial product or service.
According to the AMF’s investigation, Stéphanie Dugas sold life and disability insurance to a vulnerable person without providing the person with explanations, giving the person a distribution guide, or allowing the persons accompanying the victim to be present when the insurance was purchased.
- The AMF has also issued a penal statement of offence against Performance N.C. Valcourt and Performances N.C. inc. for exercising undue pressure or using fraudulent tactics on consumers.
The AMF’s investigation discovered that at least three clients unknowingly purchased insurance products when buying a recreational vehicle. A statement of offence was issued against Maxime Gonthier, a business manager at Performances N.C. inc., for acts against a consumer.
- In a third matter, the AMF has issued a penal statement of offence against business manager Dominic Desautels for exercising undue pressure or using fraudulent tactics on a consumer by causing her to unknowingly purchase three insurance products despite her having made it clear that she did not want any.
In each of the three cases, after the defendants enter a plea, the Tribunal will have to rule on the evidence submitted to it.
A reminder to consumers
In the coming weeks, the AMF will be conducting a social media awareness campaign on insurance products offered by dealers. In the meantime, the AMF reminds consumers that:
- They should always take time to shop around for insurance products and to make sure they are not already covered
- They are under no obligation to purchase an insurance product offered by a dealer
The Autorité des marchés financiers is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec’s financial sector.