Choosing an insurance agent
What you need to know before choosing an insurance agent
Before choosing an insurance agent, there are some questions to ask yourself and your agent to make sure you are making the right decision for you. Here is what you need to know.
The insurance sector in Manitoba is regulated – this is important as it gives both the consumer and the insurance agent or broker a third-party source of protection, as well as a source of additional, unbiased information.
Below is some more information to understand about insurance regulation in Manitoba:
Who are the regulating bodies?
Through its administration of The Insurance Act, the Financial Institutions Regulation Branch (FIRB) is responsible for the licensing of all insurers operating in Manitoba, regulating insurers established in Manitoba and managing consumer and policyholder complaints with respect to insurers.
The Insurance Council of Manitoba (ICM) is responsible for disciplining insurance agents, brokers and adjusters and they have the power to:
- investigate consumer complaints
- issue or refuse, attach limitations or conditions to, or cancel or suspend a licence
- assess fines and costs
Insurance Agents and Adjusters operate under Codes of Conduct <link to code of conduct> and must adhere to the requirements of the Insurance Act of Manitoba, Regulations and Licensing Rules.
How to assess who you want to work with
Before you purchase any type of insurance, follow these three steps to ensure you are making an informed decision about who you’re working with.
Conduct a Licence Search to confirm that an individual or agency is licensed to conduct business in Manitoba. By reviewing this directory, you will find out:
- If an individual is currently licensed as an insurance agent, broker or adjuster.
- If there are any conditions on their license.
- The type of insurance a licensed agent or broker can sell.
Search for disciplinary action in order to determine whether-or-not past disciplinary action has been taken against the agent, broker or adjuster, search the disciplinary database on the ICM website <link to their website>.
Take some time to ask a few questions to those you think might be a good fit before agreeing to work with them. Information that you might find helpful to make a decision:
- How long have you been in the business? How long have you been with your current agency?
- What services do you offer?
- Are you and your agency registered with the ICM?
- How will you help me reach my goals?
- How are you paid for your services?
- Are you engaged in other financial services such as mortgage brokering, mutual funds, etc.?
- Do you have updated Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance (all insurance agents are obligated to have E&O insurance that is up to date)?
- Have you completed the continuing education you are required to do every year?
- What level of service will you offer me in the immediate transaction and ongoing? Will you assist me in completing a financial needs analysis? Will you arrange for the purchase of a policy? Will you provide ongoing services to review or update my policy?
- Do you have any other relationships that may create actual or potential conflicts of interest?
This will ensure there are no surprises during the process and you are both on the same page about the key details of the transaction.
One of the most important determinants, when choosing who you want to work with on insurance matters, is how comfortable you are with the person you decide to work with. You will be discussing matters such as personal values and financial details and you need to know that they are willing to work with you and respect the goals that you have set. If you feel the least bit uncomfortable with them that may suggest they might not be a good fit for you.
Next time you are looking for an insurance agent, follow these steps to find someone that is right for you!