Licensed insurance agents go through a lot of training and professional development to get their certification. However, there are a few bad apples in every industry that either want to fast track their careers without licensing or commit insurance fraud by faking the required certification.
Here’s a quick guide to help you steer clear of insurance charlatans and make sure you are dealing with a licensed professional.
Don’t Buy Insurance Off of Kijiji or Craigslist Without Research
This can be a tricky recommendation, since many legitimate insurance agents do advertise their services on both of these sites. However, at least one individual has recently been apprehended selling fake insurance online, and he did it through Kijiji and Craigslist. George Solak sold fake vehicle liability insurance cards, or “pink cards”, by advertising his services on these sites. Police warn that this sort of fraud happens all the time, and Kijiji and Craigslist do very little policing of their own listings. As with everything, if it looks like too good of a deal, it probably is.
If an agent is advertising on online classified sites, go to their website and look up their certification as detailed below. If they don’t have a website and just operate with a phone number and a generic email address, that may be a sign that they’re shady. Be careful though; websites are relatively easy to set up by someone who is reasonably tech savvy, so mere possession of a website doesn’t legitimize an insurance agent. Proof of certification does. Trust, but verify.
Looking Up Certification in Alberta
If you want to make sure you’re dealing with a licensed broker in Alberta, simply do a search on the Alberta Insurance Council’s website. You can search by agency name or by the agent’s name. The only situation in which you may not see a listing for your particular agent is if they are a junior agent working towards certification under the watchful eye of senior insurance agents. If this is the case, there will be several licensed agents on file if you do an agency search.
Requirements for Certification in Alberta
One of the most important requirements for certification with the Alberta Insurance Council (AIC) is a required criminal record check. This will automatically screen out most people seeking to commit fraud. Insurance brokers from other provinces cannot automatically transfer their certifications to Alberta; they must pass all checks and examinations necessary to obtain certification in Alberta. The AIC has made sure to close any loopholes that may leave untrained or unqualified people with a certification.
First Foundation Insurance is a licensed agency with the AIC. We’ve got several certified insurance agents working for us, and we’re very proud of our affiliation and our ongoing professional development that keeps our insurance agents at the top of their game.
If you’re looking for any kind of insurance in Alberta, contact us anytime - our professional licensed insurance agents would love to work with you!