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ACTA - Association of Canadian Travel Agents

Association of Canadian Travel Agencies

Travel Health Insurance Update from ACTA
ACTA continues to work with THiA (The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada) as an active participant on the Education Committee for Travel Health Insurance. THiA is the national organization representing travel insurers, brokers, underwriters, re-insurers, emergency assistance companies, air ambulance companies and allied services in the travel insurance field. THiA is the leading voice for travel health insurance in Canada and is engaged in public education and issues relating to regulatory affairs. ACTA has been working with THiA’s Education Committee since 2015 as our objectives are very much aligned in wanting one standard for selling travel insurance across Canada.

The committee feels that, as the desired end game, having one licensing standard for the sale of Travel Health Insurance that is recognized in all provinces across Canada will benefit companies or individuals who actively sell Travel Health Insurance by saving them time, money and resources. This end game is down the road, but THiA is making strides in that direction. The current standard to becoming licensed to sell Travel Health Insurance creates a reproduction of efforts and varies from province to province ranging from paying a fee, passing an exam, gaining an exemption when licensed with the provincial regulator or no requirements at all. A single standard would align all provinces and offer consistency in licensing requirements that will enable a consistent level of professional consultation in the sale of Travel health Insurance to consumers.

THiA’s Travel Insurance Education Committee has recently completed Step 1, the first draft of a comprehensive travel insurance study guide. Course content includes chapters on The Insurance Contract, Product Suite, Pricing and Underwriting, Sales and Distribution, Claims and Assistance, Compliance, Ethics and Fraud. The first draft is in the editing stage. The committee’s next step is to review the chapter questions and create an online exam. The study guide will provide the knowledge that one will need to write a voluntary exam to earn the accreditation: TRAVEL INSURANCE PROFESSIONAL (TIP). This voluntary exam and accreditation is a first step towards a harmonized process for education, testing and licensing on a national level. The goal is to have as many professionals successfully complete the exam while lobbying the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR) to recognize the accreditation as the national standard for selling travel health insurance. The committee feels that the more individuals from across Canada that we can get to obtain the accreditation, the more likely the CCIR will be? recognize industry's commitment, desire and need to adopt a national standard. Anticipated completion date for the study guide and online exam is expected to be in 2017.

THiA accreditation will be available to all stakeholders in the travel insurance sector including brokers and banks. ACTA will continue to work closely with the committee as the voice for Travel Agents and with the launch of the ACTA LEARNING CAMPUS, ACTA has the platform to house the voluntary exam for our members. We intend to work with THiA on enabling this capability.

THiA, ACTA and the CCIR
The Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators CCIR is an inter jurisdictional association of provincial, territorial and federal insurance regulators. The mandate of the CCIR is to facilitate and promote an efficient and effective insurance regulatory system in Canada to serve the public interest. CCIR released a Travel Health Insurance Issues Paper in July 2016. This issues paper is the result of a survey that was conducted in 2015 and completed by 241 insurers when growing concerns were raised over public confidence in Canada’s travel insurance market. This led CCIR to review where the misalignment exists between consumer’s expectations and industry practices.

The CCIR’s Travel Health Insurance Products Issues Paper documents the preliminary findings of CCIR regarding issues throughout the entire lifecycle of the travel health insurance product from design, marketing, sales, involvement of third party service providers, claims management, complaint handling, education and data collection. On August 10, ACTA and THiA attended a stakeholder meeting with the CCIR to discuss details within the Issues Paper.

CCIR is seeking stakeholder comment on the issues raised in the paper. The deadline to provide written submissions is September 30, 2016. If you would like to make a comment and have it included in ACTA’s submission to CCIR please email your comments to:

Marco Pozzobon
Association of Canadian Travel Agencies
Tel: 905 282 9294