Hong Kong insurance agent banned; licence revoked

Agent had mishandled client's premiums, leaving them uninsured

Hong Kong insurance agent banned; licence revoked

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Insurance Authority (IA) of Hong Kong has revoked an agent’s licence and banned her from applying to be licensed for 11 months. The penalty comes after the agent was found to have mishandled premiums received from a client.

According to the IA, on Oct. 2, 2018, the client deposited money into the agent’s personal bank account, to be paid to the appointing insurer. The premium was intended to reinstate the client’s insurance policy, which had lapsed the previous month. However, the agent did not forward the premium to her appointing insurer until Sept. 3, 2019, some 11 months later.

The IA said that, during the 11-month period, the agent made misleading statements to both the client and the appointing insurer. The agent told the client that she had paid the premium to the insurer, leading her client to falsely believe that the insurance policy had been reinstated. The agent also informed the insurer that the client would be paying the premium by internet banking, despite already being in possession of the client’s money.

The client learned about what happened when they contacted the insurer directly. The policy was eventually reinstated, but client was left without insurance coverage without their knowledge for an 11-month period.

When questioned, the agent said that she was not able to fully focus on her work due to certain personal and family issues. While the IA took these factors into consideration in coming up with the penalty, the regulator said that it is not an excuse for the agent’s actions.

“Accordingly, not only did the insurance agent’s actions and omissions in this case fall well below the standards one would expect from a professional insurance agent, but they also demonstrated a clear lack of integrity and ethics,” the IA said. “By her actions, the agent breached the trust and integrity on which the insurance market must be founded and has rendered herself not fit and proper to be an insurance agent.”

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