Holding Out

On occasion, the ICM receives inquiries about Council’s interpretation of section 391 of The Insurance Act (the “Act”), which deals with how licensed agents or adjusters may hold themselves out to the public. Section 391 of The Insurance Act says:

"Holding Out 391 

Any person 
who, not being duly licensed as an agent, a broker, or an adjuster, represents or holds himself out to the public as being an agent, broker, or adjuster, or as being engaged in the insurance business, by means of advertisements, cards, circulars, letterheads, signs or other methods, or being duly licensed as such an agent, broker, or adjuster, advertises as aforesaid or carries on such a business in any other name than that stated in the licence, is guilty of an offence."

Essentially, there are three broad aspects to holding out obligations under section 391:

1. Any unlicensed person must not present themselves (hold out) as an agent/adjuster to members of the public. For example, a former licensee must not hold out as an agent/adjuster if their licence has lapsed, expired, been suspended, or has been cancelled; this includes all aspects of carrying on the activities of an agent/adjuster, including giving advice.

2. Advertising is also captured by section 391. If a person is no longer licensed, they must not hold out as an agent/adjuster through advertising to members of the public. Social media ought to be amended to reflect their status as a former agent/adjuster to eliminate confusion with members of the public as to their licensing status.

3. If duly licensed, any agent/adjuster who presents themselves as representing an agency or adjusting firm for which they are not licensed is guilty of an offence.

Therefore, in all advertisements, cards, letterheads, signs, or other methods, an agent/adjuster must clearly identify the agency’s or adjusting firm’s legal and/or trade name(s) as specified on their licence(s) as issued by the ICM.  Use of an agency or adjusting firm name for which the agent/adjuster is not licensed would be a violation of section 391.

If agents/adjusters wish to begin using a new name different than that listed on their current licence(s), they may then need to either amend their current licence(s) to include the new name, or apply for a supplementary licence under that new name. This could allow the agent/adjuster to hold themselves out under all of the desired names.

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Winnipeg, Manitoba
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