A B.C. broker’s license has been suspended for one year after a regulatory investigation into her processing her own ICBC Autoplan transactions uncovered that she had misrepresented the principal driver of her personal vehicle on several ICBC policies.
“Council found [the broker’s] decision to misrepresent the principal operator of her personal vehicle for several years amounted to a serious violation of the trustworthiness principle that licensees are expected to follow,” the province’s broker regulator, the Insurance Council of B.C., wrote in an intended decision dated July 6, 2022.
“Council noted that the misrepresentation led to a financial benefit for the [broker] at the detriment of ICBC [Insurance Corporation of B.C. is the province’s public auto insurer]. Council found [the broker] improperly used her position as an insurance licensee for personal gain.”
Council attached conditions to the reinstatement of Wendy Chui Ping Kwan’s broker licence. Although she had been a Level 2 broker since 2000 (and had been a licensed broker since 1986), the regulator ruled she would have to start again as a Level 1 broker for one year upon licence reinstatement. She would also have to complete courses on broker rules and ethics.
Level 1 is an entry-level licence for a general salesperson. Level 2 licences are held by commercial lines brokers or personal lines supervisors, while Level 3 licences allow the broker to manage a brokerage.
Council’s investigation began on Mar. 19, 2021, when the province’s public auto insurer told the regulator the broker had been prohibited from conducting ICBC Autoplan transactions for nine months, effective Mar. 12, 2021.
The broker told council investigators she had been suspended because she used her ICBC login credentials to process her own personal car insurance renewals. Council found she had been processing her own renewals since the 1990s.
The brokerage’s rep told council the brokerage followed ICBC business requirements. Staff had to ask their co-workers to help process any changes or renewals on their own car insurance.
ICBC then turned over to council’s investigators the file related to the broker’s suspension, which was due to the results of an ICBC investigation into her stolen vehicle claim.
“According to the [ICBC’s] report [regarding the stolen vehicle claim], the principal operator on the vehicle was her husband; it was a shared family vehicle, and the main drivers were the [broker] and the husband. The [broker’s] son also used the vehicle for pleasure but took the bus to school and work,” council wrote in its intended decision.
“After the car was recovered, a search revealed three items (a baseball cap, an employee parking pass, and a parking ticket) that were all found to belong to the son. The son further admitted to being the current principal operator of the vehicle, driving it four times a month to school and significantly more under prior policies.”
When ICBC claims investigators interviewed the broker about the claim, the broker initially maintained her son had never driven the vehicle to school. However, she admitted the employee parking pass belonged to her son and that he had used the vehicle for his summer job.
She agreed her son would have been the principal operator of the car at this time, but she told ICBC she had not changed the insurance because the son had only driven the car to work for about one month.
ICBC denied the claim.
“ICBC denied the [broker’s] vehicle claim due to the misdeclaration of the principal operator,” council wrote in its intended decision. “ICBC determined that the misdeclaration had been made for several years and was financially motivated to avoid the premium costs associated with the son being listed as the principal operator, as he was an inexperienced driver.”
Council’s decision noted the broker’s actions put the public at risk if her auto insurance had been declared invalid as a result.
“By not disclosing to council that the ICBC suspension was partly due to the misrepresentation, council determined that the [broker] did not act in good faith towards council,” the regulator’s intended decision reads.
“Council believed that ignorance and inaction contributed to the misrepresentation, as council appreciated [the broker] may not have been aware of the son’s frequency of driving. Further, council believed [the broker] may not have been aware that she could not process her own transactions.
“In all, Council determined [the broker] breached the principle of good faith.”