Relatively new agent, Ann-Mariel Krisine Ariola is being ordered to complete remedial coursework following an investigation by the Insurance Council of British Columbia into whether she engaged in a conflict of interest when she loaned funds to a client, sold unsuitable policies and breached client confidentiality when she shared the client’s information with her spouse.
Licensed as a life accident and sickness agent since December 2018, the council received a complaint about Ariola in February 2020 from a client who said she had been approached by the agent in April 2019 to join a first-time homebuyer’s seminar. “She alleged that they told her to bring all existing life insurance policies for the family, as they would need to be replaced to be approved for a mortgage,” the intended decision states.
Ultimately the family’s policies increased in price. “The licensee allegedly explained that this was due to larger coverage because they would be buying a home, and part of their life insurance premiums would go towards the mortgage payments, as well. It was also alleged that the licensee sent money to the spouse to pay for a missed insurance premium payment and that the licensee may have shared the complainant’s policy details with the licensee’s spouse,” the decision states. Ariola denies saying the life premiums could be used towards the family’s mortgage payments.
“When questioned how the family could afford the insurance premiums based on their incomes, the licensee indicated that the values were only averaged as the family often worked overtime, so their incomes would be higher than listed,” the decision also states. She also admitted to using her spouse’s phone to text the family, but said she deleted the text messages right away. “Due to this, she admitted that she did not have a complete record of her conversation with the family.”
She also admitted to lending funds to the family, but claimed that the funds were not meant to help the spouse pay his insurance premiums.
“Despite council’s findings, council found that the licensee’s misconduct was competence-related. Council believed that the licensee’s lack of licensed experience and training contributed to her actions,” the intended decision adds. That said, “council (also) concluded that the licensee did not prioritize the interests of the family. By diverting a significant portion of the family’s available funds into the policies, the family was put in a disadvantaged position.”
In addition to remedial coursework ordered by the regulator – Ariola must complete the Council Rules Course for life and/or accident and sickness insurance, along with two additional Advocis courses – the agent was also ordered to pay costs in the amount of $3,341.25. Ariola must also be supervised for two years of active licensing by a supervisor approved by the insurance council.