Canadian Underwriter

Broker fined for unorthodox method of storing client documents

February 20, 2018   by David Gambrill

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A B.C. broker has been fined $2,500 and ordered to complete a privacy compliance course after it was discovered that she was storing client documents in the locked garage of her home.

Her time-honoured, paper-based method of storing documents came under review during an Insurance Council of B.C. investigation into whether she had taken confidential client information from an insurance agency that she had left in May 2016.

Dolores Gertrude Findlater, first licensed as a broker in 1986, primarily handled insurance for fleets belonging to leasing companies. She joined an unnamed agency in 2002 and worked there until she left to join a different agency, where she now works.

When packing up her documents to leave the agency in 2016, she had allegedly taken client records and Insurance Corporation of B.C. documents from the brokerage.

Findlater told council that it was common practice for her to keep copies of her client’s insurance documents under lock and key in the garage of her residence. She said the nominee at her brokerage knew that she kept copies in this manner and provided her with a safe in which to store the documents.

Findlater explained to the province’s broker regulator that she had left all of the original files in stacks on her desk; she had taken her own client list that she had brought with her to the agency in 2002. (At the time she joined the brokerage, she had an agreement with the brokerage nominee that the clients she brought to the brokerage were her own.)

Findlater also told council that she had accidentally taken ICBC stock documents and inventory. As soon as she discovered the error, she promptly returned them to the brokerage.

Council seemed to be satisfied with the explanation of the missing files, but it did find fault with how the broker was storing her clients’ personal information.

Findlater said the majority of client files she kept at home related to her previous work with leasing companies before she joined the agency in 2002. The agency had no dealings with these clients, she told council.

Council’s decision confirmed that “there was no indication that the licensee used client information inappropriately.” It nevertheless found that she had improperly compiled, retained and stored confidential client information without the knowledge and consent of the clients.

“Council considered this conduct to be contrary to the usual practice of the business of insurance,” Council wrote in its order dated Feb. 13. “Council concluded that a fine should be imposed to address the importance of protecting the privacy of client information.

Council also concluded that the broker “would benefit from further education regarding privacy and Council Rules.”