Position Profile

Job Title:  Director, Insurance Policy and Communications

Work Unit:  Financial Sector Regulation and Policy

Ministry:  Alberta Treasury Board and Finance

Competition Number:  1040477

Date:  February 2017
 

Position Summary

 

The position reports to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Financial Sector Regulation and Policy and Superintendent of Insurance and is accountable for the development of policy for government, and stakeholder education regarding insurance. To fulfill this role the incumbent develops and leads processes to engage difficult and often opposing stakeholders in objective and fair consultations on legislative or regulatory changes regarding automobile and all other types of insurance. Similar efforts are required to implement any resulting changes to business practices of insurers, health care practitioners and others; in addition to developing consumer or other stakeholder education initiatives.

These activities are complex, sensitive and difficult because of the need for consistent and professional stakeholder management combined with the likelihood of strong public reaction to emerging issues. The issues related to insurance are critically important for everyday Albertans. Without an effective insurance marketplace Alberta and Canada’s modern economy would be unable to function. Insurance allows consumers to take on risks collectively that they cannot do individually, whether it is building a family home, starting a business, traveling, securing plans for retirement or recovering from accident or sickness. It allows businesses to take on projects of increasing size and scope, like a second store or the development of the oil sands.

Insurance policy is not static. Circumstances are always shifting and changing, which means policies must be continually examined, through an assessment of the overall economic and financial conditions in Alberta and Canada that are key to the health of the insurance marketplace. Further, policies must be evaluated, to ascertain if they fulfill the objectives of government. Contentious projects like the Automobile Insurance Premium Regulation demonstrate the need for the high level, critical and independent work performed by the incumbent of this position.

The Director, Insurance Policy and Communications will be expected to undertake and lead research on a broad range of complex insurance related issues, including legal, financial, economic and actuarial concepts. Given these challenges strong technical knowledge and problem solving skills are required. The position will develop policy, in part, by building relationships with numerous stakeholders including consumers, other ministries, governments, academics, public policy groups and industry representatives. Understanding the industry, its objectives, culture and leaders is necessary to develop a knowledge base to assess policy options and strategically anticipate stakeholder reactions.

Specific Accountabilities

 

The Director, Insurance Policy and Communications is accountable for providing leadership in the implementation and fulfillment of the government’s goal to foster a fair, stable and effective insurance market by:

  • Independently fulfilling the responsibilities delegated under Section 792 of the Insurance Act, as assigned by the Assistant Deputy Minister and Superintendent of Insurance
  • Lead environmental scanning at the local, provincial, national and international level to identify issues and trends in the insurance industry.
    • Lead or undertake studies and research projects on topical issues.
    • Analyze developments in insurance issues and assessing the impact of those developments on consumers, insurers, regulators and government.
    • Evaluate alternative auto insurance systems in Canada and other jurisdictions.
  • Providing leadership and direction in the preparation of discussion materials and other influential documents to advance the Alberta government’s position and facilitate discussions and consensus.
    • Developing discussion/consultation papers for distribution with stakeholders, analyzing feedback and developing strategies to address stakeholder issues. Leading policy development of draft legislation and regulations.
    • Preparing action requests for the Premier, Minister’s and Deputy Minister’s offices, including correspondence, briefings, and reports to ensure that there is effective and consistent communication with stakeholders and to ensure that Senior Officials are informed about emerging issues.
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of the regulatory program and identify issues or problems
    • Coordinate expert staff and contractors to evaluate complex industry data, actuarial reports and other financial information.
    • Lead consultation processes with stakeholders and provide recommendations regarding policies and provisions of the Insurance Act.
    • Develop and coordinate work plans, strategies and background analysis in preparation for consulting industry on sensitive and emerging issues.
    • Coordinate, develop and evaluate proposals made to and by the Automobile Insurance Rate Board on behalf of the Superintendent of Insurance.
    • Coordinate and assess whether legislative, regulatory and policy options contribute to improving the health of the insurance marketplace.
  • Consult directly with stakeholders, develop policy proposals and respond to policy queries
    • Lead research and analysis of industry information and data to develop policy proposals to address new directions in the regulation of automobile and all other types of insurance.
    • Ensuring quality and timeliness of response to requests and correspondence from stakeholders and consumers.
    • Develop, refine and implement communication strategies to assist consumers, insurers and other stakeholders.
    • Coordinate issue specific conferences and roundtable discussions with stakeholders.
    • Coordinating and liaising with insurance stakeholders, other departments and other governments to ensure accurate and complete information is obtained or communicated on insurance issues.
  • Lead, co-ordinate or actively participate on intergovernmental and interdepartmental committees, including chairing committees of the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators (CCIR).
  • Communications
    • In collaboration with industry partners, lead the development and dissemination of information to the public and other stakeholders regarding emerging issues in the marketplace.
    • Develop and champion a process to increase financial literacy regarding insurance products and issues.
  • Supervision of staff and administration of unit
    • Lead strategies to enhance the ability of Financial Sector Regulation and Policy to attract, retain and engage staff. Motivate staff to achieve the goals and strategic direction of the Financial Sector Regulation and Policy team.
    • Develop, mentor and coach staff to develop and enhance current skills, abilities and aptitudes.
    • Direct administrative matters for the Policy and Communications unit, including contracting, budgeting, human resources, information technology, knowledge management and other administrative issues.
    • Enhance the internal capacity of the team by soliciting, encouraging and building the commitment from internal and external stakeholders to address emerging issues through their contribution of solutions, compromises, resources, knowledge or gifts-in-kind.
  • As directed carry out any other matters required to support the activities of the Ministry, including the Automobile Insurance Rate Board, Alberta Insurance Council, General Insurance Council, Life Insurance Council and the Insurance Adjusters Council.

Knowledge / Experience

 

Bachelor’s and graduate degrees in economics, law, business administration or public administration.

Minimum 7-10 years related experience in policy analysis and development, including senior management experience in a significantly complex government department or organization.

A detailed understanding of the insurance industry, its objectives and the role of key stakeholders would be considered an asset.

Experience working with and an understanding of government legislation and approval processes are required. Detailed understanding of the Insurance Act and related regulations in Alberta and other Canadian jurisdictions is required. Detailed understanding of related acts of the Federal Government is also required. Understanding of corresponding provincial acts including PIPA, FOIPP, Traffic Safety Act, Lobbyists, Limitations and Tort-feasers would be considered an asset.

The functions performed will require the ability to lead complex public policy processes and analysis of advanced legal and financial concepts, in addition to government policy and legislation in order to recommend a range of policy options to address competing issues, opinions and interests of stakeholders. Related functions will include the ability to lead a team to cut through and assess evolving and dynamic economic, financial and actuarial studies, reports and assumptions. Achievement of these functions will require strong project management and coordination skills. Strong analytical and problem solving skills combined with effective communication, interpersonal and facilitation skills are essential.

Leadership and Business Know-How

 

This position is accountable for assessing both the broad and narrow public interest and then developing and communicating government’s objectives for the insurance marketplace. To fulfill government’s objective will require strategic use of regulatory tools and the ability to convince stakeholder to agree with and support the stated objectives. The key complexity is coordinating the development of policy positions based on varying levels of stakeholder agreement on complex issues.

The position will develop policy, in part, by building relationships with numerous stakeholders including consumers, other ministries, governments, academics, public policy groups and industry representatives. Understanding the industry, its objectives, culture and leaders is necessary to develop a knowledge base to assess policy options and strategically anticipate stakeholder reactions.

Significant effort will be placed in developing, implementing and reviewing detailed and prolonged consultation processes with stakeholders on numerous issues simultaneously. The outcome of these consultations will be one of many sources that support the development of government policy and the legislative framework for the insurance market. A market that includes over 30 different types of insurance ranging from personal line products (e.g. automobile, home, life, accident and sickness insurance) to more complicated commercial products (e.g. commercial liability, property and business interruption insurance).

Problem Solving

 

This position requires leadership to ensure coordination, as well as compilation, synthesis and analysis, of large quantities of complex quantitative and qualitative information relating to a broad range of insurance issues. From this process, a range of viable and applicable policy options must be derived, accompanied by ramifications and consequences for each option.

Coordination occurs not only with internal staff, but experienced professionals and Senior Officials in the Alberta Government as well as other Canadian Jurisdictions and the Federal Government.

This position must, through the work produced, strive to balance the competing needs of consumers, insurance providers and other stakeholders while ensuring the objectives of government are maintained. Coaching and mentoring is available from the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputy Minister, in addition to other staff of the department in a team based environment. Access to technical information and experts are available.

Relationships / Contacts

Clients Frequency Nature and Purpose of Contact
Internal

Minister and Members of the Legislative Assembly

As required

Briefings / Advice / Recommendations

Deputy Minister

As required

Briefings / Advice / Recommendations

Assistant Deputy Minister and Superintendent of Insurance

Daily or as required

Briefings / Advice / Recommendations

Deputy Superintendent, Insurance Regulations and Market Conduct

Daily or as required

Coordination of activities and consultation on issues

Policy Advisors and Compliance Officers

Daily or as required

Coordination of activities and consultation on issues

Executive Director of the Automobile Insurance Rate Board

Weekly or as required

Coordination of activities and consultation on issues

Chief Executive Officer of the Alberta Insurance Council

Monthly or as required

Coordination of activities and consultation on issues

External

Consumers

Weekly or as required

Informative / Consultative relationship / general queries

Other Alberta Government Ministries

  • Health
  • Justice
  • Transportation
  • Environment
  • Municipal Affairs
  • Seniors and Community Supports
  • Tourism, Parks, Recreation and Culture
  • Intergovernmental Relations
  • Aboriginal Affairs
  • Executive Council
  • Corporate Human Resources
  • Workers Compensation Board
Weekly or as required

Informative/Consultative relationship

Problem solving / issue management / advice / recommendations

Other Governments, including delegates to the Canadian Council of Insurance Regulators

Weekly or as required

Informative / Consultative relationship

Problem solving / issue management / advice / recommendations

Industry Stakeholders

Insurance Bureau of Canada

Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association

Canadian Health Life and Insurance Association

Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta

ADVOCIS (Financial Planner’s Association)

College of Physical Therapists of Alberta

Alberta Physiotherapy Association

College of Physicians and Surgeons

Alberta Medical Association

Alberta Dental Association

Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors

Other health care practitioners

Weekly or as required

Informative / Consultative relationship

Problem solving / issue management / advice / recommendations

Impact and Magnitude of Job (Scope)

 

Under the leadership of the Assistant Deputy Minister and Superintendent of Insurance, the Director, Insurance Policy and Communications will contribute to the leadership team of the Financial Sector Regulation and Policy division. The Director, Insurance Policy and Communications will advise Senior Officials of significant environmental trends in the insurance industry and identify any pressing policy issues that may require the attention of government or have impact on government legislation, regulation or policies. Ultimately, any changes surrounding government policy and the legislative framework will affect everyone who buys, sells or uses insurance for risk or wealth management in the province of Alberta. Influence amongst government colleagues and in the marketplace will also extend the impact of decisions to other provinces and territories. Ultimately the position is independently accountable for establishing, communicating and strategically implementing government’s objectives for insurance.

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