The Participants

AuthorDenis Boivin
Who are the key players in the Can adian insurance industry and what
are their motives for participati ng in this industr y? Insurance is a
product and a service; it has both providers and consumers. The for-
mer are usually in the business of making prof‌its and can collect ively
be described as “insurers.” The latter are in search of peace of mind
and are willing to make considerable f‌inancial sacr if‌ices to secure it.
They are usually descr ibed as “insureds.” The relationship between
providers and consumers of insur ance is facilitated by a number of
middlemen and women known as intermed iaries. These include agents,
brokers, and adjusters. For intermediaries, insurance is a way of mak-
ing a living; for many, it is a self-regulated profession. In the sections
that follow, each participant is described in greater detail.
Insurance products and ser vices cannot be provided by just anyone.
For reasons discus sed in Chapter 3, the supply of insurance is heav ily
regulated in Canad a. Generally speaking, there are two types of in sur-
ance providers operating in the Canadian industr y: public and private.
There are also “self-insurers.” For instance, some corporations have
large and widespread operat ions. In certain areas of their exposure,
they can set money aside to meet future obligations as t hey arise. This
money corresponds to the premiums t hat they would otherwise pay to
an insurer to provide them w ith coverage. In effect, these corporations
are insuring themselves by internalizing risks, r ather than transfer-
ring them to someone else. Because self-insurers deal exclusively w ith
themselves, they are not subject to the regul ations and principles of
law described in this book. As far as t he law of insurance is concerned,
self-insurers are in t he same position as people who save their money
for a “rainy day”; they personally accept the risk that their future obli-
gations may exceed the savings they have accumulated.
1) Public Insurers
Public insurers are creatures of the State. They are found at the federal,
provincial, and terr itorial levels of government. They assume many dif-
ferent forms, including government agencies, boards, and Crown cor-
porations. Public insurers repres ent the interests of the governments
that establish them, administering insurance schemes created by those
governments. They are generally funded through a mixture of tax dol-
lars, premiums, levies, and user fees. They typically have a monopoly
in their respective spheres of activity, although limited competition
may be permitted in certain circumst ances. Thus, they have a relatively
stable clientele. In fact, the procurement of public insurance is genera lly
mandatory. Consumers have little choice but to pay for the products and
services provided by public in surers. Like all government bureaucracies,
public insurers are motivated by something ot her than earning prof‌its.
Simply put, they are part of the Canad ian social safety net. Their raison
d’être is the provision of products and services deemed essentia l to the
Canadi an public.
a) Automobile and Health Insurance
Examples of public insurers abound in t his country. In the f‌ield of auto-
mobile insurance, for instance, there a re currently four public insur-
ers in Canada. From West to East, they a re the Insurance Corporation
of British Columbia, the Saskatchewan Government Insurance, the
Manitoba Public Insurance, and the Société de l’assurance automobile
du Québec.1 These government bodies offer basic automobile insurance
1 The statutes th at create these four public insu rers are Insuran ce Corpora tion
Act, RSBC 1996, c 228; The Saskatche wan Government Insurance Act, 1980, SS

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