Greater Duty Owed

Authority Insurance Council of BC

Believing an insurance licensee breached their professional Code of Conduct, Joy went to the Insurance Council of BC to make a complaint. In her complaint to the council she referred to several sections of the code that, in her view, were breached. 

About 15 months later, Joy received a short letter from the council notifying her of the result: no wrongdoings or breaches of the Code of Conduct were found with respect to her complaint. The letter referred Joy to the courts should she wish to resolve her dispute with the licensee. 

Because of the brevity of the letter and its lack of detailed findings, Joy was not sure if an investigation into her concerns really occurred. At the very least, Joy thought the council would have sat her down for an interview. Furthermore, Joy thought the council took too long to make its concise decision. She contacted us.

We entered into the investigation knowing that the council’s primary duty of procedural fairness is owed to the licensee – the party about whom the decision was being made and who could be disadvantaged as a result.

Through investigation we could see that the council made reasonable inquiries, reviewed relevant documentation available to it, generally followed relevant policies, and acted within its authority. Although the process took approximately 15 months, it did not appear that the council’s review or decision was improperly postponed. Joy made extensive written submissions to council and the head of the council’s complaints department called her for more details when necessary. 

The council’s decision was consistent with the documentary evidence we reviewed. While the reasons given to Joy could have said more to promote transparency, they were not inadequate. In this case, open communication with Joy had to be balanced with the privacy rights of the licensee.

While Joy disagreed with the council’s decision, we were able to independently confirm that the procedure used by council, taken as a whole, was not unreasonable. We informed Joy of our consideration..

Names in our case summaries have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. This case study can also be found in the 2016-2017 Annual Report.

Category Other
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2016
Location The Interior