The Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) announced in a recent decision that it is fining Sean Ronson Nethercott $5,000 and suspending his certificates of authority for one year after two clients allege he did not arrange life insurance policies in accordance with their instructions.

The clients, dubbed RS and DS in the AIC decision, say the agent led them to believe that both were approved for individual life insurance term polices. After premiums for the policies had been coming out of their account for about a year, the pair discovered that the policies provided did not align with the agreed upon amounts, and that the agent had created two policies for RS, resulting in the higher premium payments, but failed to create a policy for DS, leaving him uninsured.

All parties agree that DS was notified that his application had been declined. DS, however, contends that the agent advised him that a reapplication would be processed. He visited the agent’s office to process what he believed to be a new application for life insurance. At that time, he says Nethercott presented him with a conversion document relating to his wife’s coverage, which he unknowingly signed. “Having believed that coverage was in force for both parties, the clients observed an increase in insurance payments. The amount of the increase was such that they interpreted this to be the value of their combined coverage. However only RS was insured and DS was left both unaware and uninsured,” say the decision’s authors.

Although Nethercott says he strongly disagrees with RS’s comments and the chronology of events, the council says “in light of all the evidence, council is satisfied that there is sufficient, clear and cogent evidence that the requisite elements of an offense under s.480(1)(a) have been met, and that the agent’s conduct was intentional, and is dishonest or untrustworthy.”