Licensee holding out – What you need to know
Published November 18, 2022
Licensees must honestly represent themselves and the services and products they provide so as not to mislead the public.
Licensees must represent themselves to the public (“hold themselves out” to the public) accurately revealing the licence they hold and qualifications so that the public is aware of whom they are interacting with. This includes disclosing that you are an insurance agent prior to conducting insurance activities with the public, and not representing yourself as having specific expertise in a given area of practice or industry designations unless suitably qualified by virtue of experience, training, or both.
A licensee’s name as it appears on the licensee’s licence and Licensee Directory
must accurately be reflected in all insurance business materials, including business cards, letterhead, signage, email signatures, websites, promotional material, and all forms of advertising.
All names under which insurance business is conducted, other than an individual's own name must:
- Be registered with the BC Corporate Registry
- Be a name that will not likely be confused with the name of another licensee/business
- Be registered with and approved by the Insurance Council
- Not use the term “and Associates,” or a similar phrase, as part of a business trade name when there are not two or more licensees in the business.
Agents and salespersons who primarily deal with a single product or product line should be careful not to use the product name in their marketing strategies in a way that may mislead a member of the public into believing it is a trade name.
Licensees are also reminded that they must not present themselves to the public in such a manner as to suggest that they are a registered insurance company, rather than an agency. Section 12.1(b) of the Financial Institutions Act
states "a person commits an offence" when they "give a false impression that the person is a trust company or an insurance company." It is the Insurance Council's position that these requirements also extend to corporate logos and that the agency's registered legal name or trade name should always accompany the logo.