Travel Insurance in Alberta – Renewal Deadline and Important Information
The Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) has asked ACTA to share the following information with member agencies about the expiration deadline of the travel insurance certificate(s). If your Travel Agency currently holds a valid certificate(s) to sell travel insurance, your license(s) will expire on June 30, 2018 and must be renewed prior to that date if you wish to continue doing business. The AIC will email renewal notifications to all license holders through their Designated Individual(s) in early May. Please make sure that if you are not the Designated Individual (“DI”) for the license issued to your business, a new DI must be appointed. This change can be done through an online application by logging into the AIC portal. If the agency name under which you conduct insurance business or the sponsoring insurance company has also changed, the DI must update those changes through an online application. These updates cannot be made on renewal application(s).
Insurance and Independent Contractors
At the same time, ACTA has engaged AIC to assist members in understanding the requirements for independent contractors. The AIC has offered to counsel agencies directly with what is needed in order to comply.
The Alberta Insurance Council (“AIC”) has issued restricted insurance agent certificates of authority to prescribed businesses since 2001. Travel agents fall within the category of businesses that can apply for licenses to sell travel insurance. The Insurance Act (the “Act”) requires that individuals selling insurance under such a license must be employees of the license holder rather than independent contractors.
The travel industry has changed substantially since 2001 and it appears that travel agencies have utilized independent contractors with greater frequency. However, the Act does not allow an agency’s independent contractors to sell insurance under its AIC license.
There are steps that travel agents and agencies can take to comply with the requirements and limitations related to independent contractors. By way of example, consider a travel agency (“ABC Travel” or “ABC”) that wishes to engage a travel agent (“Mary Smith”) to sell travel insurance. Given that Mary is not an employee of ABC, she cannot sell insurance under ABC’s certificate of authority. As a travel agent, she can, however, obtain her own sole proprietor certificate of authority and operate under a trade name that incorporates her name and that of ABC. In this case, the license could be issued with a trade name of “Mary Smith, ABC Travel.” Once this license was issued, Mary would be required to hold herself out and conduct business in a manner that is consistent with the legal or trade name found on the license.
To apply for certificates of authority, travel agents must meet all eligibility requirements that include, among other things, the recommendation of an eligible insurer and errors & omissions insurance that provides the required level and terms of coverage. If you have any general questions about AIC licensing, information can be found on the AIC’s website (www.abcouncil.ab.ca). Alternatively, you can email the AIC (firstname.lastname@example.org) or contact the AIC licensing department by telephone at (780) 421-4148.