AIC fines and suspends agent for withholding client refundspar The IJ Staff | July 15 2019 09:30AM
The Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) announced in a decision that it has fined and suspended insurance agent, Tracy Ernest DesLaurier. In its statement, the AIC says the agent allegedly acted in an untrustworthy and dishonest manner when he failed to provide a travel insurance refund to two clients after the money was given to his agency, Edmonton-based DesLaurier Financial Services Inc./TravelInsure.ca.
In doing so, the AIC says Deslaurier violated sections of the Insurance Act which state that the Minister responsible for the Act may suspend certificates of authority, impose terms and conditions or impose penalties “if the Minister is satisfied that the holder or former holder of a certificate of authority has been guilty of misrepresentation, fraud, deceit, untrustworthiness or dishonesty.”
It is also alleged that the agent made false or misleading statements to conceal or retain the refund intended for his client, in violation of sections of the Act which state that no insurer, insurance agent or adjuster may make a false or misleading statement, representation or advertisement.
The agent (allegedly) acted in a dishonest or untrustworthy manner pursuant to s.480(1)(a) of the Act by failing to provide the refund to Client 1 and withholding the refund of Client 2 until (he was) discovered, say the decision’s authors. “Given the evidence before the council, and the agent’s statements, the council believes that the conduct of the agent was intentional.”
The council has the jurisdiction to levy civil penalties, up to $5,000. “The council agrees that a substantial civil penalty is warranted under the circumstances. Honesty and transparency are the hallmarks of a trustworthy agent’s conduct, especially where client funds are concerned. As noted in these findings, the agent’s actions deprived the client of the funds owed to them. The council therefore orders that a civil penalty in the amount of $5,000 be levied against the agent.” The council also revoked the agent’s certificates of authority.
In an earlier case against him, DesLaurier reportedly collected close to $50,000 in premiums but failed to remit those premiums to the insurance company. In that case the council levied a civil penalty of $1,000 and ordered DesLaurier’s certificates of authority be suspended for six months.