A Property/Casualty Insurance Perspective on Financial Reform
The Empire Club of Canada Addresses (Toronto, Canada), 1 Feb 1996, p. 347-357
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A Property/Casualty Insurance Perspective on Financial Reform

Reference to the 1992 review of the legislation governing Canada's financial institutions by the federal government, and the upcoming review in 1997. The debate on possible reforms as it is taking shape. The possibility that it is taking the wrong shape, a narrow debate about banks selling insurance rather than looking at the big questions about how all the pieces of the financial puzzle fit together. A review of the banks-selling-insurance issue, and how it affects the Canadian consumer. An operative model which is not and never has been free market competition among equals. What the model is. The advantages and problems with that model. Time to ask if the traditional policy framework makes sense anymore. The need to be cautious about making one-sided reforms in 1997 that exclusively favour the banks. The history of these changes and what they reveal. The real standard of competition. What happens to price competition in a captive market. Looking at service fees. Questions to ask. The issue of customer information files. The power of banks to use credit denial as a way of achieving market dominance in non-banking sectors. The real issue of competition within the financial services sector as a whole as the question to be addressed at the 1997 financial services review. Resolving broader issues of competition to deal more easily with the specific issues such as banking and insurance. Insurance companies and banks competing on an equal and fair basis. The need for clarity rather than a piecemeal approach to legislative change which affects us all. The ability of Canadians to access the best possible financial services in the future.