The Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) has fined a life insurance agent $1000 for failing to complete an online questionnaire from 2013.
In the autumn of 2013, FSCO required 1400 randomly-selected life insurance advisors to complete its product suitability review, an information gathering exercise that was meant to help the regulator come to a better understanding of how agents make suitable product recommendations to prospects. Those selected for the review had until November 15, 2013 to submit their answers.
According to an Ontario Financial Services Tribunal decision that was published last week, Tharani Pirapakaran failed to respond to reminders letters that were sent by registered mail on December 2, 2013 and on March 10, 2014. The final letter warned that a failure to reply would result in regulatory action, but Pirapakaran still made no response. In January 2015 she allowed her life insurance license to expire.
A year and a half later, the case made its way to the Financial Services Tribunal. At a hearing on May 14, Pirapakaran said that while she was licensed she was only notionally active and she did not understand what was required of her as an agent. She admitted that she knew she should have responded to the communications from FSCO, but told the panel that, in fact, she had only just read the questionnaire on the day she was required to appear before the tribunal.
Tribunal members Paul Farley, Jill Wagman, and Jeffrey Richardson imposed a $1000 fine on Pirapakaran. In their decision, they concluded that this amount was "appropriate and necessary to act as a deterrent to the Applicant and to other regulated persons who might consider ignoring requests for a response from the Superintendent."