On June 8, 2019, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRAO) replaced the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) as the regulatory body for insurance in the province.
FSRAO is an independent regulatory agency that oversees a number of financial services in the province of Ontario, as follows:
- Loan and trust companies
- Credit unions / caisses populaires
- Mortgage brokers
- Life and health insurance (including drug plans)
- Home, auto and business insurance
- Healthcare providers providing services related to auto insurance
- Pension plan administrators
- Financial planners and advisors (proposed)
When it comes to insurance, FSRAO:
- Enforces the rules in the Insurance Act;
- Gives guidance to insurance companies, insurance agents, insurance brokers and related vendors (adjusters etc.) about how to best comply with the Insurance Act and other government requirements;
- Monitors how companies operate in the insurance sector, and has the power to impose penalties for misconduct;
- Approves the rates that insurers charge for auto insurance;
- Supports consumer protection, including a dispute resolution process; and
- Maintains a number of standard auto insurance forms
From a consumer perspective, unless you have a dispute with your insurer, the most important function of the regulator is to approve rate filings. Every quarter, insurance companies that sell auto insurance in Ontario have the opportunity to submit new rates to FSRAO for approval. FSRAO reviews the company’s claims results from previous quarters to determine whether or not the rate adjustment is warranted.
In terms of its role in consumer complaints, FSRAO serves as an independent dispute resolution mechanism of last resort. That means that in order to have your complaint/dispute heard by FSRAO, you need to show proof that you have exhausted the insurance company’s internal complaints process.
FSRAO is self-funded, meaning all of its activities are paid for by fees it charges. No tax dollars go to pay for its operations.