Meet Jill*. Jill purchased a new car and needed auto insurance. She searched on Google and found Fred*. Fred advertised on social media he sold insurance for a “really good price.” Jill called Fred to purchase auto insurance. Fred asked her a number of questions, including personal information and driving history. Jill agreed to pay Fred on a monthly basis via e-transfer. Several months later, Jill got into a car accident. Jill called, who she believed to be, her insurance company and the insurance company advised Jill that they had no record of her in their system. Jill thought, “how could this be, I pay my insurance premiums on time every month?”
Unfortunately, it appears Jill has fallen victim to a “Ghost Broker.”
What is a “Ghost Broker”?
Ghost Brokers are individuals who disguise themselves as insurance brokers and wrongfully interact with the public under the false pretext of selling insurance. They blatantly defraud the public, by letting on they are selling insurance when, in fact, they don’t represent an insurance company at all. Unfortunately, this type of fraud has left well intentioned victims, like Jill, thinking they had insurance, when they actually don’t.
Not only can this scam leave you uninsured and out hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars, but it could leave you legally vulnerable. For example, to operate a vehicle in Canada, vehicle owners must carry liability insurance and one can face significant legal repercussions for failing to do so. Another example is mortgagees often require homeowners to carry home insurance, so that in the event of a loss, assets are fully protected.
Ghost Brokers may also provide you with documentation that appears authentic and legitimate. This documentation could include a policy and a “pink slip.” A “pink slip” is also known as a liability slip. These slips have your name, mailing address, vehicle information, insurance company, and policy information. Unfortunately, these slips are susceptible to being fraudulently created and counterfeited.
How can you protect yourself?
When purchasing insurance, it is important to speak with an insurance professional who is properly licensed and qualified to sell insurance. Only purchase insurance from a brokerage or agent you trust.
To confirm a specific broker’s license status, please refer to the licensing body within your province. Often the website will have a search function where you can confirm a specific broker’s status. You can also ask the broker or agent for his or her license number and cross reference this number on the licensing body website.
To find a trusted brokerage, who works on behalf of Aviva, please click here.
If you suspect anyone of Ghost Brokering or you have fallen victim to a Ghost Broker yourself, report it right away to your local police and the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) at 1-877-IBC-TIPS (1-877-422-8477).
If you suspect you have become a victim of a Ghost Broker, who allegedly used Aviva Canada, please report it to us here.
*character names are fictious and were created for illustrative purposes only.
The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as specific professional or expert advice. Aviva Canada accepts no responsibility for action taken as a result of reliance on any information contained in this article.