Ontario regulator’s warning due to ‘misunderstanding’ - Relm
Relm Insurance has explained that a Canadian regulator’s claim of inappropriate advertising in Ontario is based on a misunderstanding and not any company wrongdoing.
The company issued a statement this weekend after David Burt, the Premier and Finance Minister, took umbrage at The Royal Gazette for the newspaper’s reporting of the Canadian allegation.
Last week, authorities issued a widely circulated warning about the Bermuda insurer.
The Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario told Canadian consumers to refrain from using the Bermuda-domiciled Relm Insurance Limited to obtain insurance – noting they were not licensed in Ontario.
FSRA stated: “It has been reported that Relm Insurance Limited is advertising the sale of insurance products in Ontario without a valid licence.”
Relm said this weekend, they were aware of the FSRA statements, but responded: “We believe this is based on a misunderstanding.”
But Friday, Mr Burt took his criticism of Bermuda’s daily to the floor of parliament, even though the same story was widely distributed by FSRA using Canadian wire services, Cision, that made it available for use by journalists across Canada, and eventually internationally.
Still, the Premier was so concerned, he told the House of Assembly that he contacted the head of Relm to apologise for the report in The Royal Gazette, alleging that the story was an attempt to attack the government.
“I called to apologise because I know how vital it is to keep good relations with companies that are bringing investment in jobs to our shores,” Mr Burt said.
“I called him to apologise, to say I am sorry that there are persons who want to get at me, who want to get at the government, and will use whatever they can, to do so.”
He said the story was given greater prominence in the newspaper than a report of 20 Bermudians being hired at fintech firms earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, this weekend’s Relm statement addressed the issue raised by Canadian regulators.
It said: “As a Bermuda-domiciled insurance company, authorised and regulated by the Bermuda Monetary Authority, Relm does not advertise the sale of its insurance products in Ontario and does not hold itself out as being authorised in Ontario.
“In all instances, Relm has acted appropriately and in accordance with the law.
“Any insurance business for Ontario-based insureds is placed through appropriate distribution channels.
“Relm brokering partners are authorised to place business with Relm and also authorised to work with local retail brokers in Ontario to obtain coverage for their clients, where equivalent coverage is unavailable in the local authorised insurance market.
“The brokers first exhaust all options for finding coverage locally; when such coverage is not available, brokers can explore and source capacity abroad. In doing so, the brokers must adhere to a strict compliance framework.”
Joseph Ziolkowski, Relm co-founder and CEO said: “Relm is actively reaching out to regulators to clarify any misunderstandings as it relates to the statements made by the FSRA.
“For Ontario companies seeking insurance protection for risks that are underserved in the local insurance market, there is a prescribed path for sourcing capacity abroad, including from insurers that may not otherwise be authorised to transact insurance business in Ontario.
“Over the last three years, Relm has built a global reputation as a solution-oriented insurer, deploying informed and dedicated capacity to companies operating in emerging sectors.”
Relm, the first and only commercial insurer globally to hold Bermuda’s IIGB License – which bills itself as the world’s leading insurance provider to the crypto sector – has just launched Relm II, the world’s first fully regulated collateralised reinsurance business that can accept both fiat and crypto as collateral.