A British Columbia advisor has been stripped of his life and accident and sickness licence for four years and ordered to pay more than $8,500 after an investigation concluded the advisor colluded with others in his insurance agency to pass advisor exams.

In a written decision handed down last week, the Insurance Council of British Columbia (ICBC) said Manvir Singh Grewal’s actions constituted a “serious misconduct,” and were part “of an organized system to cheat on the LLQP examinations. This is serious misconduct.” As part of its decisions, the ICBC hearing committee said Grewal must also complete an ethics course before the provincial regulator will consider a new licence application.

Statistical anomalies

The action by the ICBC follows two similar cases addressed last year. ICBC said it had been alerted to statistical anomalies in the LLQP exam results “that appeared to suggest some level of collusion amongst the examinees.”

During the investigation the ICBC called as a witness Michael Stitt, an investigator with the ICBC, who analyzed thousands of LLQP exams and concluded that 46 candidates had used “potentially anomalous answer sequences” on their LLQP exams, all affiliated with the same agency as Grewal. No one from any other British Columbia agency used the same answer sequences.

Stitt also discovered these unusual answer sequences had been used on two of Grewal’s exams – one for the LLQP test on ethics and the other for the accident and sickness exam.

Denied cheating

Grewal testified during the hearing that he prepared for the two exams by doing some work through an online course and some booklets he found online. He did not enter any study materials into evidence. He denied any sort of collusion or cheating on the tests. 

Given all the available evidence, “the [ICBC] Hearing Committee put no weight in the Licensee’s denials that he cheated. His denials were not credible given all of the other available evidence.”

It said had Grewal owned up to his misconduct, the hearing committee would have recommended an even smaller fine. “But given that he continued to maintain that he had not cheated in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Hearing Committee recommends that the fine still be significant.

The council had made an intended decision in 2017 to cancel Grewal’s life and accident and sickness insurance licence, but held off after he requested a hearing.