B.C. insurance council fines, suspends former agent for failing to disclose bankruptcies
The Insurance Council of British Columbia has fined a former agent $7,500, assessed hearing costs of $4,054.72, and suspended the agent’s license for at least two years, after Amarpal Singh Atwal failed to disclose that he’d filed for bankruptcy on two separate occasions.
According to the order, Atwal has been licensed by the council at various times dating back to February 1983. After receiving information from a local bankruptcy trustee advising them that Atwal had filed an assignment into bankruptcy in December 2017, an investigation revealed that he had also been bankrupt many years earlier, in 1993. “Neither of these bankruptcies had been reported to the council by the former licensee,” say the order’s authors. The investigation later revealed that Atwal had submitted three applications to the council in which he also failed to disclose his bankruptcies.
Atwal advised council investigators, by fax, that he was not aware he was obligated to inform council about his bankruptcy. (Council rules state that a licensee must notify council within five business days they are convicted of a criminal offence, or if they, or any business they own or have participated in as a director officer or partner, declares bankruptcy.)
“Council also referred the hearing committee to two occasions in 2009 and 2012 when the former licensee received reminder letters from the council in circumstances where he had failed to notify the council about an issue he was facing with the Real Estate Council, as well as certain civil judgments that had been obtained against the former licensee,” they write. “Council submitted that the former licensee’s pattern of failing to make required disclosures mandated in favour of a more significant penalty for the issues addressed at this hearing.” Council originally asked the hearing committee to include a fine of $10,000 along with an order prohibiting Atwal from reapplying for his license for three years.
Council further took the position that his “repeated and serious” misstatements made in his license applications, “revealed a licensee with no regard for his professional obligations.” Furthermore, they write that his repeated financial issues and his efforts to conceal the matter from council “are demonstrative of a licensee who is an ongoing risk to the public.”
In addition to the fine and hearing costs, Atwal is prohibited from applying to the council for any license for a period of 24 months from the date of his bankruptcy discharge or the order’s date, “whichever is later,” must be supervised for 24 months from the date of his reinstatement, and must successfully complete the Ethics for Insurance Brokers course through the Insurance Brokers Association of British Columbia before he can seek reinstatement.