Making a Complaint

The Insurance Council of BC works to ensure insurance licensees are compliant with Council Rules, Council’s Code of Conduct, and the Financial Institutions Act.
 

What and Who We Regulate

The Insurance Council licenses and regulates the people who sell insurance in BC: insurance agents, adjusters, salespersons, agencies and firms. 

We do not have authority over insurers—the insurance companies that pay policy holders’ insurance claims and underwrite the risk. In BC, these are regulated by the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA).
 

What We Can Do

The Insurance Council has the authority to investigate insurance agents, adjusters, salespersons, agencies and firms, and discipline them if they are found to have breached Council’s Rules, Code of Conduct, or the Financial Institutions Act.
 

What We Can’t Do

Council cannot order any licensee or insurance company to make payment on a claim or to refund premiums or service fees. Nor do we have the authority to order a disciplined licensee to pay restitution to a client. 

Other matters outside of our authority include:

  • Settling claims disputes
  • Mediating or ruling on disagreements about refunds
  • Providing policy interpretations

  • Initial complaint review: Council reviews your written complaint to determine whether the matter is within Council’s jurisdiction.  Some of the matters outside Council jurisdiction include:
    • Claim disputes
    • Disagreements about refunds
    • Requests for policy interpretations
    • Contractual agreements between licensees and third parties
    • Service
Council also reviews whether you have provided enough information to proceed. If necessary, Council may request more information. 
  • If Council proceeds: In most cases, Council contacts the licensee who is the subject of the complaint and requests the licensee submit a written statement along with any supporting documentation and/or come in to Council's office for an interview.

  • If a complaint or inquiry falls outside Council’s authority: If possible, Council will direct you to an appropriate organization or person that may be able to assist in resolving the problem.  You may find information on other resources here.  If you request, Council may refer the matter on your behalf to another regulator with the authority to review the matter, such as the BC Securities Commission or BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA).  Council is unable to make referrals directly to insurers.

  • After the complaint is reviewed: Council decides whether the matter should be referred for a formal investigation, or if the review should be concluded.  In making this determination, non-voting Council members may be consulted for advice on what is considered “usual practice” in the industry.
  • Submit your complaint against an insurance agent or adjuster in writing (Note: Council has no authority over insurance companies.  You may find information on other resources here):
    • Be specific
    • Include a timeline
    • Include supporting documents
            You can find prior enforcement decisions here.
 
  • Council assigns a Compliance Officer to review your complaint. The Compliance Officer will:
    • Contact you to acknowledge receipt of your written complaint.
    • Request additional documentation, if needed.
    • Inform the licensee(s) about whom you are complaining, to allow them to respond.
    • Periodically update you on the status of the complaint review (to ensure rigour and compliance, the complaint review process can take some time).
  • Council determines the outcome of the review, and will let you know whether your complaint will be:

    • Investigated further.
    • Closed, because Council lacks jurisdiction over the specific complaint — Council will refer you to another regulatory body if appropriate.  Additional information on othe regulators can be found here.
    • Closed, with Council issuing a reminder to the licensee(s) about whom you raised concerns — on appropriate conduct or procedures, and potential consequences of any similar complaints in future.
    • Closed, with Council providing best practice advice to the licensee about whom you raised concerns — in cases where improvement in practice may have prevented the circumstances leading to the complaint, or may have put the licensee in a better position to support their actions.
    • Dismissed due to insufficient evidence or because the matter does not constitute a breach.