Insurance Industry News

Mortgage insurance risk advice by watchdog

The financial regulator in Canada has come up with a guideline draft for mitigating insurers risks.

Mortgage Insurance NewsCanada’s financial regulator has now come up with a draft for certain mortgage insurance company guidelines that could help to decrease the risk that is currently present within the housing market.

Analysts have cautioned that it could make it slightly harder for borrowers to obtain a home loan.

The guidelines were created by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI), and they would apply to that country’s three major mortgage insurance companies: the federally owned Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp (CMHC), which is behind 70 percent of the country’s residential coverage; and the two private insurers Canada Guaranty, and Genworth MI Canada.

The primary drive behind the mortgage insurance proposal is to encourage a more proactive role among insurers.

This guidelines proposal is being made for the US$664 billion industry and is designed to promote a more proactive role by insurance companies in order to help to make certain that the banks with whom they do business will apply more solid mortgage underwriting practices. This would include a tougher form of income verification that more closely resembles the procedures used by their American counterparts.

Stricter mortgage underwriting guidelines were imposed by the OSFI in June 2012 for banks that are federally regulated. Those regulations applied to the relationships between borrowers and their banks. This new set of regulations, on the other hand, involves institutions that are not supervised by the OSFI.

This type of change to the insuring and underwriting practices could assist in slowing down the current housing marketplace. However, the principles of the proposed regulations are still being left open to interpretation by insurers, so this could soften the blow to that market. On the whole, there will likely be only a marginal impact on credit availability within the country. As a result the decrease in the resale market will likely be minimal, assuming that the guidelines are implemented as they are currently written.

Mortgage insurance companies still have until May 23, 2014 to be able to provide their feedback on the guidelines.

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