IA issues three-year ban to two ex-insurance agents

Both engaged in illicit activity in 2013 and 2017

IA issues three-year ban to two ex-insurance agents

Insurance News

By Kenneth Araullo

The Insurance Authority (IA) has disciplined two former insurance agents for using fraudulent academic certificates. These cases occurred under the previous self-regulatory regime, and the actions taken by the IA were in line with the standards of that period.

Initially, the agents submitted false academic certificates in 2013 and 2017 to the Insurance Agents Registration Board (IARB) to register as insurance agents. However, with the introduction of Enhanced Vetting Requirements by the IARB, which required additional verification of academic credentials, both agents again presented false certificates in 2019 to meet these enhanced standards.

These incidents predate the IA's assumption of responsibility for regulating licensed insurance intermediaries on Sept. 23, 2019. Under the transitional arrangements specified in Schedule 11 of the Insurance Ordinance (Cap. 41), these cases are being addressed according to the regulations and disciplinary approaches in place at the time of the infractions.

The IA reiterated its commitment to handling these cases with thoroughness within the limits of these constraints and is making its actions public to emphasise the unacceptability of such conduct. Since taking over the regulatory role, the IA has introduced a provision in the Ordinance that criminalises the submission of false information in connection with licensing applications.

Violators risk a level 5 fine and up to six months of imprisonment. The IA has affirmed its readiness to prosecute any individual attempting to submit fraudulent academic certificates under the current regulatory framework.

Furthermore, the IA has also issued a reminder to insurers and their intermediary management control functions about their crucial role in vetting new insurance agents. Insurers are expected to conduct thorough checks to verify the accuracy of information submitted to the IA during the licensing process of prospective agents.

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