The Insurance Council of British Columbia (ICBC) says it has fined at least three brokers who were found to have aided motorists to avoid paying toll fees. This was achieved by the brokers by entering false payment receipts into the Autoplan system. Such actions are fraud, says ICBC in a release.
Unpaid toll fees stop drivers from being able to renew their licenses or get auto insurance in British Columbia. Until bills are paid, ICBC places a “refuse-to-issue” order on drivers when payments are 90 days overdue. Insurance companies can override this order is they receive the official receipt numbers and the fine is paid, but changing the Autoplan system.
“Brokers are given the capability to bypass a refuse-to-issue hold for legitimate reasons — primarily for when proof of payment is presented — but also so they can carry out transactions which do not have an insurance component, such as vehicle registration or transfer of ownership,” ICBC explained in a statement.
“However, in the instances which led to these sanctions, brokers were bypassing a refuse-to-issue hold when they should not have been. These actions were in clear violation of ICBC procedures, ICBC’s Code of Ethics and the ICBC Autoplan Agency Agreement.”
ICBC suspected fraud and started an investigation in 2015. The provincial insurance provider had discovered a fake receipt number, sparking an 18-month inquiry. The council found a list of false receipts and names of brokers that had authorized them. 100 brokers are involved in the investigation and the council says it has fined at least three so far.
Those three brokers are Edmund George, Jacqueline Babcock, and Kanesaratna Lyer. The two former brokers were fined $5,000 and the latter was suspended for six months.
ICBC executive director Gerald Matier promised the council will continue to pursue brokers perpetrating this type of fraud, and that more names will be revealed.
“There are a number of decisions where a tentative decision has been made, but the individual’s time to request a hearing has not expired,” he stated.