LLQP (Life Licence Qualification Program) exam prerequisites, course information, and other life insurance licence qualifications and requirements for individuals, partnerships, or corporations in BC.
Council makes every effort to keep the LLQP information regularly updated. Please check back often.
Council is here to help. Your insurance licensee resources include compliance information such as licensee responsibilities; council rules; continuing education; disciplinary decisions and process; and other useful information for licensed individuals, partnerships, or corporations in BC.
Council makes every effort to keep insurance licensee resources regularly updated. Please check back often.
Get up to speed on the latest news and developments from the Insurance Council of British Columbia.
Changes to Strata Insurance Laws - Practice Advisory and Q&A
On Friday, September 4, 2020, the provincial government approved changes to the laws regarding strata property insurance business. The changes introduce requirements related to referral fees, notification periods for changes to or non-renewal of strata insurance, and compensation disclosure.
The Insurance Council has released a practice advisory and Q&A document providing additional guidance about what these regulatory changes mean for licensees.
These can be found at insurancecouncilofbc.com/notices.
AGM and Annual Report
The Insurance Council held its Annual General Meeting of voting and non-voting members virtually on September 23, 2020. This was followed by a strategy session considering the regulatory implications of the online distribution of insurance.
At the meeting, 2019/2020 chair, Lesley Maddison, provided an annual report of the Insurance Council's activities and its progress on the strategic plan. This was followed by a report on operations and a financial overview by CEO Janet Sinclair.
The 2019/2020 Annual Report and Audited Financial Statements are available online.
Annual filing may be months away, but it’s not too early to complete your continuing education (CE) credits. All licensees regardless of status are required to complete the CE requirements for their class of licence annually by May 31 as part of their annual filing.
If you are not sure how many CE credits you are required to complete, or what qualifies as technical content, see the Licensee Resources section of our website for more information.
Donations of Life Insurance Policies
In December, the Insurance Council issued an advisory notice regarding the donation of life insurance policies. Life agents should be aware of the considerations surrounding these activities in order to comply with regulatory requirements. Notice ICN 19-005 Donations of Life Insurance Policies provides guidance on this topic. You can view Notice ICN 19-005 here.
New Options for LLQP Exam
Starting in February, the Insurance Council is introducing an option for Harmonized Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) examinees to schedule and write individual exam modules for a fee of $50 per module. Examinees will still have the option of writing up to four exam modules in one day for a fee of $125. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for Annual Filing 2020
In preparation for annual filing season, the Insurance Council is working on upgrades to the online portal that will make it easier for licensees to complete this year's filing. This includes improvements to the dashboard as well as additional functions for corporate nominees.
The annual filing fee will be announced in next month’s What’s New email, and filing will officially open on April 1, 2020. Licensees are encouraged to update their contact information via the online portal so that they can receive annual filing communication from Council.
Changes to the Financial Institutions Act
Changes to the Financial Institutions Act (Act) received royal assent in November 2019. This is the provincial legislation that governs the regulatory framework for credit unions, insurance companies and intermediaries, and trust companies in BC. The amended legislation will be introduced in stages through regulations and is expected to come into effect in its entirety by 2021.
A number of changes introduced by the Act relate to sections of the legislation that govern the Insurance Council. Some are administrative in nature, relating to how the Insurance Council conducts its business, or relating to governance, with little to no direct impact on licensees. Others are more directly applicable to licensees.
The first set of changes that impact the Insurance Council were brought into force on January 24, 2020, and include the following.
Further changes related to governance or operation of the Insurance Council include amendments regarding the duties of Council, frequency of meetings, and the handling and disclosure of confidential information.
Regulations implementing the Financial Institutions Act changes will continue to be rolled out over the coming months.
The Insurance Council is closely monitoring implementation of the Act, and engaging with government on development of the regulations. We will be providing updates as information becomes available.
You can find more detailed information on the amendments to the Act on the BC government website, including amendment wording and a log of legislative changes.
The global outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the recent declaration of a provincial state of emergency in BC has led to a great deal of change and upheaval in the lives of British Columbians, and the Insurance Council of BC and its licensees are no exception.
The health and safety of the public, our licensees, and our staff is our priority. At this time, we are continuing to provide services and carry out our regulatory functions, while abiding by the restrictions imposed by BC’s Provincial Health Officer. To prevent the spread of COVID-19, agencies and firms should also do their part to maintain social distance with clients and among staff, as directed by the Provincial Health Officer.
The Insurance Council will conduct its business via phone, email and online, and we are working to move more of our processes online. And, while ‘business as usual’ may not be possible, we believe that we can best serve British Columbians by continuing to carry out our regulatory work in support of industry’s efforts to keep BC’s economy moving forward. We thank you for those efforts and for your understanding at this extraordinary time.
Where to Find Updates on our Response to COVID-19 and Impacts on our Services
As our physical office location closed on March 17, we are currently requiring that applications and other forms be submitted via email only, not by mail or courier. For any processes requiring payment, you will be contacted by our staff regarding payment details; please do not send payment via mail or courier.
Information about our current processes for handling licence applications, ATRs, and other matters is available on a special advisory page on our website. As the Coronavirus situation continues to develop, please be aware that other changes to our processes may become necessary.
Notice ICN 20-002 Temporary Suspension of Level 1 Salesperson Restriction Rule 6(1)(b)
The Insurance Council of BC shares the concerns of insurance agencies about the impact of agency closures and self-isolation measures on their ability to continue to meet British Columbians’ insurance needs at this crucial time. To support the public’s access to insurance products at this time, particularly car insurance, the Insurance Council has obtained the BC Minister of Finance’s approval of an urgent amendment to Insurance Council Rule 6(1)(b) to temporarily suspend the restriction which prohibits Level 1 General Insurance Salespersons from carrying out general insurance business in any place other than on the premises of the insurance agency the licensee is authorized to represent.
Important details regarding the amendment to Rule 6(1)(b), and regulatory requirements to be followed are outlined in Notice ICN 20-002 Temporary Suspension of Level 1 Salesperson Restriction Rule 6(1)(b), available in the Notices section of our website.
Notice ICN 20-001 Brokering Best Practices
In early March, the Insurance Council of BC issued an advisory notice, ICN 20-001 Brokering Best Practices, to provide guidance to insurance brokers on how best to operate in the current hard market conditions. Market challenges facing consumers in British Columbia include reductions in insurer capacity and/or willingness to underwrite risk, significant premium increases, and deductible increases.
Diligent and ethical practice by Insurance Council licensees is essential to ensure that consumers’ interests are protected. This notice identifies best practices to help licensees to meet their professional obligations around: 1) Helping Clients Understand the Market, 2) Timely Notification, 3) Providing Advice, and 4) Duty of Care.
General Insurance licensees are expected to be aware of and familiarize themselves with this guidance. Notice ICN 20-001 Brokering Best Practices is available here, or in the Notices section of our website.
2020 Annual Filing
This year, Annual Filing for 2020 will be conducted entirely online. We will be providing instructions and information in the weeks to come. Over the last few months, we have been working on improvements to the online portal which will make it more user friendly to complete your filing this year, and which will add additional features and functionality.
The Insurance Council of BC is pleased to announce the following re-appointments, effective December 2019:
See more information about the members of Council.
Deadline to Complete Continuing Education Extended
At their April meeting, the voting members of the Insurance Council approved an extension of the annual deadline for licensees to complete their continuing education (CE) requirements from May 31, 2020, to the following year, May 31, 2021.
Continuing education supports competent practice, and Insurance Council Rule 7(5) requires licensees to complete a specific amount of continuing education (CE) credits by May 31 annually based on their licence class and experience. However, the disruptions caused by the global coronavirus pandemic have made completing CE credits by the deadline more challenging for licensees. Licensees will now have an additional year to complete their 2020 CE credits. They will still need to complete their 2021 CE credits by May 31, 2021.
You can find more information on the extension, including a Q&A, on the Insurance Council website.
Annual Filing: What You Need to Know About Changing Your Licence Status
The deadline for licensees to complete their annual filing is June 1, 2020. Filings received after June 1 will be subject to a late fee.
At its most recent meeting, Insurance Council members approved the reduction of the 2020 late filing fee to $25 from $200, in consideration of the challenges arising from the current health crisis and the impact on individual and corporate licensees.
To date, over 27,000 licensees have submitted annual filings through the Insurance Council’s online portal. See information and instructions for annual filing.
Code of Conduct Update: Notice for Insurance Renewals
The Insurance Council’s Code of Conduct has been updated to reflect the guidance provided to insurance brokers in March about the amount of notice they must give clients in advance of insurance policy renewal in a challenging market.
Section 7.3.12 of the Code of Conduct, states that “clients must be notified at least 60 days prior to the expiration of their existing insurance if you are unable to renew their insurance at the same terms and conditions.” Prior to the revision, the minimum requirement under the Code was 30 days’ notice.
In response to hardening market conditions, in early March brokers were advised in notice ICN 20-001, Brokering Best Practices, of the expectation that they contact their clients a minimum of 60 days in advance of the insurance renewal date. This revision of the Code of Conduct brings practice expectations and requirements into alignment.
See the Code of Conduct or Notice ICN 20-001 Brokering Best Practices.
BCFSA Releases Bulletin on Charitable Donations
The BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) has released a bulletin regarding charitable donations. Bulletin INS-20-003, Charitable Donation of Life Insurance Policies in British Columbia, clarifies BCFSA’s position on the interpretation and application of section 152 of the Insurance Act to certain activities related to the charitable donation of life insurance policies in British Columbia.
The Insurance Council’s notice ICN 19-005, Donations of Life Insurance Policies, provides guidance on this topic for insurance licensees.
Insurance Council Publishes Strategic Plan for 2020-2023
The Insurance Council has published its strategic plan for 2020-2023. The new three-year plan takes effect in June 2020 and provides direction for the organization’s activities. The plan is focused on updating regulatory practices in line with international standards; providing oversight that protects consumers and enables industry innovation; enhancing support for consumers, licensees and government; and delivering efficient and effective access to Insurance Council services.
The plan is the culmination of council discussions and strategic planning sessions held earlier in the year, with support and insights from staff.
See the 2020-2023 Strategic Plan on our website.
In Case You Missed It: Continuing Education Deadline Extended
The deadline to complete your continuing education requirements for 2020 has been extended to 2021. See more information about the extension.
Council Member Appointments
We are pleased to announce the recent re-appointment of the following non-voting members effective June 30, 2020:
More information about the members of Council is available on our website.
LLQP Exams Resume in Vancouver Location
Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) exams have now resumed in our Vancouver location. Exams follow strict physical distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures. We are currently accepting new registrations for exams in our Vancouver location only. Exams in Surrey and in locations outside of Metro Vancouver continue to be suspended until further notice. Registrants whose exams were cancelled in the months of March to May 2020 will be given priority to schedule their exams. For more information about how to register for an exam, please visit our COVID-19 update page.
Status of Temporary Rule Change for Level 1 Location Restriction
In March, to support insurance licensees’ ability to work from home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Insurance Council successfully obtained an urgent amendment to Rule 6(1)(b) from the Minister of Finance to temporarily suspend the restriction that prohibits Level 1 General Insurance Salespersons from carrying out general insurance business in any place other than the premises of the licensee’s insurance agency.
Rules changed under the process for urgent amendments are effective for a temporary nine-month period, reverting back to their original state unless repealed or revoked before that time. We are currently gathering data regarding the impact of the rule change over the last three months to assess what next steps should be taken regarding the temporary status of Rule 6(1)(b). We will provide an update when this information becomes available.
Government Actions Aim to Address Increasing Cost of Strata Insurance
Last week, the BC Financial Services Authority (BCFSA) released an interim report of its findings regarding the rising costs of strata insurance. The report assessed the strata insurance market in BC as being in an “unhealthy” state, highlighting a number of indicators leading to this conclusion. The interim report is available on the BCFSA website, with a full report expected this fall.
Yesterday, the provincial government announced actions it was taking to address the rising cost of strata insurance. Legislative changes are being introduced to increase clarity and transparency around depreciation reports, strata corporations’ insurance requirements and coverage, notification, as well as commission and compensation.
Of particular relevance to insurance licensees, the legislative amendments will discontinue the practice of referral fees paid by insurers or insurance brokers to property managers or other third parties. They will also pave the way for requirements for brokers to disclose the amount of commission received, and stronger notification requirements for changes to insurance coverage and costs, or an intent not to renew.
The Insurance Council of BC will continue to engage with government and other stakeholders on this matter, and will be working towards ensuring that implementation of these measures supports regulatory effectiveness.
The full announcement from the Province is available on the government’s website.
Consultation on Proposed CE Guidelines Underway
We are seeking your feedback on proposed Continuing Education Guidelines for implementation in 2021. Your input will help inform Council’s decision-making process as it considers adopting these guidelines. On June 12, licensees were emailed a link to a consultation survey on the guidelines, inviting participation. If you haven’t done so, you can complete the survey here before it closes on July 17, 2020. Consultation on the guidelines will remain open until the end of July. For more information about the guidelines and how we are consulting, see the consultation page on our website.
LLQP Exams Resume in Vancouver and Victoria
Life Licence Qualification Program (LLQP) exams resumed in our Vancouver location in early June, and registrations are now also being accepted for exams in Victoria. To keep examinees and exam staff safe, we are following strict physical distancing and other COVID-19 prevention measures.
We are working on the resumption of exams in other locations in BC and will be providing updates regarding new dates and locations on our website; however, at the present time, registration is only being accepted for the Vancouver and Victoria locations.
For more information about how to register for an exam, please visit our COVID-19 Update page.
Find Practice Advisories and Guidance by Topic
Changes and updates to regulatory and legislative requirements or responses to industry trends are communicated to licensees through practice advisories known as Notices published by the Insurance Council. Licensees are responsible for staying informed about the content of these notices as they relate to their practice requirements.
We've recently updated the Notices section of our website to make it easier to find notices related by subject matter. Filter by topic to pull up relevant notices, such as those related to vehicle insurance, confidentiality, or exempt market securities, etc.
Notices are available on our website at insurancecouncilofbc.com/notices.
New Program Will Work with Licensees to Identify Practice Issues Before They Occur
As a part of our recently launched Strategic Plan, the Insurance Council is developing regulatory programs that will proactively enhance public protection and licensee support. This fall, we will be introducing our Practice Audit Program.
The new program will work directly with licensees to identify and address potential issues before complaints are received, providing feedback and practice guidance to licensees so that they can ensure they are meeting their requirements under the Insurance Council’s Rules and Code of Conduct.
As a part of its regulatory functions, the Insurance Council carries out inspections and investigations when there are concerns that a licensee may have failed to meet their professional requirements. However, at this point, a breach or client harm may have already occurred, leading to discipline. While these programs serve an important function, these are reactive measures. By working together with licensees to prevent non-compliances before they occur, through support and education, the Insurance Council is aiming to enhance overall public protection and increase licensee awareness of their professional requirements.
Under the new program, practice audits will be initiated by the Insurance Council through audit requests communicated in advance to licensees. Audits will be selected based on areas of risk identified annually, as well as on a random basis, or on a licensee's own request.
More detailed information about the Practice Audit Program will be made available on our website shortly, and in the August What’s New email.
Sending Licensing or Other Documents to the Insurance Council
While the Insurance Council’s building remains closed to public access, we have resumed receiving courier deliveries. However, submitting documents electronically is still the preferred option, as our building is not easily accessible at this time. If you are sending documents via courier, please ensure that your shipping company understands that the courier will need to phone the Insurance Council office upon arrival and a staff member will meet them to accept the delivery. At this time, we are able to accept deliveries between 8:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
Appointments to Council
We are please to announce recent appointments to the Insurance Council of BC:
See more information about the members of Council.
A new program will see the Insurance Council work directly with licensees to provide practice guidance and address potential issues. Launching mid-September, the Practice Audit Program aims to enhance licensee support and public protection. First mentioned in the July What’s New at Council email, this article provides more detail about the program.
Under the new program, practice audits will be initiated by the Insurance Council through audit requests communicated in advance to licensees. Audits will be selected based on areas of risk identified annually, as well as on a random basis.
The audit process will involve an audit questionnaire form being sent to the licensee. They will have 21 days to complete and return the questionnaire for review by the Insurance Council’s Practice and Quality Assurance Team. Areas that the audit will look at include: errors and omissions insurance, authority to represent, proper recording of insurance transactions and related financial affairs, client confidentiality practices, and compliance with practice advisories.
After the questionnaire is reviewed, if no issues are found, a confirmation letter will be sent and the practice audit is closed. If an issue is identified, the licensee will be contacted by phone to discuss further and may receive a practice reminder letter at which time the audit will be closed. In cases where a serious conduct or competence issue is identified, the matter will be reviewed further.
By working together with licensees to prevent non-compliances through support and education, the Insurance Council is aiming to avoid potential harm to the public and regulatory breaches that end up resulting in discipline for the licensee. This approach is intended to improve public protection while helping licensees be successful in meeting their regulatory requirements.
More detailed information about the Practice Audit Program will be made available on our website shortly.
Update on Changes to the Financial Institutions Act
The Financial Institutions Act is the provincial legislation that governs the regulatory framework for credit unions, insurance companies and intermediaries, and trust companies in BC. Amendments to the Act were enacted in November 2019 and are being introduced in stages through regulations.
Earlier in the year, we reported on a number of changes to the Act relating to the Insurance Council and its licensees that were brought into force in January. An additional set of regulations was brought into effect as of June 22, 2020.
This latest set of changes addresses:
Licensee Remuneration – The Act now authorizes the Insurance Council to make rules regarding the remuneration of licensees.
Delegation to Committees - The Insurance Council will have the ability to delegate a hearing committee the authority to make enforcement decisions.
Standardized Council Compensation – Insurance Council members may be remunerated in accordance with the general directives of the Treasury Board, instead of an amount established by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
Additional regulations to implement the Financial Institutions Act changes are anticipated over the coming months and we will continue to provide updates as more information becomes available.
You can find more detailed information on the amendments to the Act on the BC government website, including amendment wording.
Annual Filing and Terminations
Annual filing for 2020 concluded at the end of July. In August, licence terminations were issued to 3,729 individuals for non-filing.
This year, the annual filing process was conducted entirely through the Insurance Council’s online portal. The online process resulted in a greater number of licensees initiating their filings sooner, and Insurance Council staff were able to assist licensees via support calls and emails more quickly.