The Insurance Council of Manitoba (ICM) has fined a licensee from Crawford & Company a total of $10,000 – $5,000, plus an additional $5,000 for the assessed partial investigation costs – for failing to ensure adequate on-site supervision of the firm’s employees.
Specifically, in a decision released Jan. 18, council found that an Level 4 Manitoba-licensed adjuster was not physically present in Crawford’s Hamilton office to countersign all Manitoba Level 1 and Level 2 assistant adjuster’s correspondence.
“Council concluded that there was a systemic lack of due diligence and appropriate organizational procedures pertaining to licensure of all adjusters, supervision, and oversight provided by the firm,” reads the council’s analysis.
As the firm’s designated representative, licensee Jacqueline Desrochers was responsible for ensuring that adjusters complied with all licensing rules.
On Mar. 17, 2017, Feb. 27, 2018, and Mar. 4, 2019, Desrochers completed an annual Adjusting Firm Attestation form. In it, she attested that she understood she was required to: ensure that proper and adequate supervision of employees is always provided, ensure that no employee, director or partner who is not licensed acts as an insurance adjuster, and report any changes to ICM within 15 days.
On the 2017 attestation form, Desrochers indicated the Hamilton office was supervised by a person named in the council report as ‘Adjuster A,’ although in 2020, Crawford’s legal counsel stated that this was not the case. “Ms. Desrochers was mistakenly under the impression that Adjuster A had occupied this role previously,” the lawyer told council investigators.
“The inaccuracy in the information provided was not intended to mislead … Ms. Desrochers admits to having been inexperienced in completing these forms and in not having adequately reviewed the Licensing Rules when completing the attestation.”
On the 2019 form, Desrochers indicated ‘Adjuster B’ supervised the Calgary office and ‘Adjuster C’ supervised the Hamilton office.
By email dated Mar. 4, 2019, ICM’s licensing department notified Desrochers that, as Level 3 adjusters, Adjuster B and Adjuster C did not hold the appropriate level of license in Manitoba to provide on-site supervision.
Then, on a different version of the 2019 attestation form, Desrochers had indicated that adjuster D had been providing the required on-site supervision at the Hamilton office.
A few days after the initial email, ICM’s licensing department questioned Desrochers as to who was providing on-site supervision for the Hamilton office. Desrochers replied via email and indicated that “I had Adjuster E as the on-site manager for Hamilton previously – did not realize had to be Manitoba licensed.”
Upon investigation, ICM’s Licensing Portal indicated Adjuster E had never held an insurance adjuster license in Manitoba.
In several emails throughout July 2019, Desrochers attempted to rectify the issue with ICM’s investigator, which resulted in more misrepresentations as to who was the on-site adjuster at the time.
During the investigation, Desrochers was also found to have failed to notify ICM of the change of an on-site supervising adjuster F at the Hamilton office.
Adjuster F had been a supervisor at the Hamilton office since late 2019 when her Level 3 license was upgraded to a Level 4 license. Desrochers failed to notify the council of the change until three months later – well after the allotted 15-day period.
By letter, Crawford’s legal counsel confirmed that the Hamilton office did adjudicate Manitoba claims between Mar. 17, 2017, and June 30, 2019, and that no Manitoba Level 4 adjuster was providing on-site supervision at the time.
Crawford’s legal counsel also stated that “Ms. Desrochers notes that she was not suitably informed with respect to the supervisory arrangements in the Hamilton office and was under the mistaken impression that such supervisory responsibilities could be administered within the business unit generally and not in the Hamilton office specifically.”
In the analysis of the case, the council determined that Desrochers should have known the regulatory requirements, as she had been the firm’s designated representative throughout several different periods beginning in 2001.
“It was the responsibility of the Designated Representative to ensure that no employee who is not a licensed adjuster acted as an insurance aadjuster,” the decision reads.