The Seven Most Common Causes of Complaints in 2017The Seven Most Common Causes of Complaints in 2017

There were many serious reasons for the complaints filed with the Syndic’s Office against professionals in 2017. We have classified them into seven categories, which we will now explore together:

1. Negligence

The top cause of complaints in 2017 was negligence. Negligence includes various breaches related to practicing the profession in a negligent manner, or a manner that does not comply with established directives, standards, requirements and obligations. Examples in this category include causes related to: 

  • failure or neglect to respect deadlines; 
  • failure or neglect to provide full and accurate information; 
  • failure or neglect related to various practices, such as client-record keeping. Professionals have an obligation to fulfill their duties with care, diligence and accuracy. No activity a professional performs in the course of his or her daily work is so trivial that it can be taken lightly.

Recap of Obligations:

The 2018-2019 Compulsory Course on Preventing Negligence

As part of its review of the most frequent causes of complaints in recent years, the ChAD has chosen negligence as the subject of its 2018-2019 compulsory compliance course. The on-line course, worth 2 PDUs in Compliance, is entitled Focusing on Compliance: Preventing Negligence in Your Practice. Using videos, interviews and questionnaires, the course reviews the principles and implications of the duty to act with care, diligence and accuracy that apply to damage insurance representatives and claims adjusters. To register for the course, go to (the course in English will be online soon).

2. Failure to Properly Explain, Inform and Advise

The second cause of complaints in 2017 was the failure to properly explain, inform and advise. This category covers all issues related to the various obligations to inform and advise. It also includes all forms of communication and contact with clients, as well as other professionals and insurers.

Recap of Obligations:

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3. Attitude

Issues related to attitude ranked third among the causes of complaints received by the Syndic’s Office of the ChAD in 2017. This category covers all issues related to certain fundamental values such as respect, transparency, integrity, availability, professionalism, open-mindedness, diligence and probity.

This category covers how professionals behave and interact with their clients and members of the industry, be it verbally, in writing, physically or psychologically. It also includes issues such as: 

  • a lack of objectivity in handling the claims file; 
  • the obligation to not denigrate a competitor; 
  • the obligation to not pursue activities in situations that could compromise the quality of service, for instance, not pursuing activities while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

For the public, being professional means having high moral standards that contribute to creating a relationship of trust. The professional’s actions and behaviours must lead others to view him or her as a reliable, respectful, competent person. Complaints related to the professional’s attitude reveal concerns over actions that run contrary to these principles.

Recap of Obligations:

4. Poorly Executing the Mandate

Complaints regarding poorly executed mandates came in fourth in 2017. This category covers reasons related, in particular, to obligations regarding accountability and quality, such as those explicitly described in the Act respecting the distribution of financial products and services (ARDFPS) and the Codes of Ethics of representatives and claims adjusters. The category also includes violations of: 

  • obligations related to the collection of information; 
  • obligations associated with renewing an insurance contract; 
  • obligations to act promptly and honestly; 
  • obligations to follow up on the client’s instructions.

Recap of Obligations:

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5. Disclosure of Personal Information

The category that covers the disclosure of personal information includes all reasons related to the disclosure, or the illegal or prohibited communication of personal or confidential information protected under the Act respecting the protection of personal information in the private sector, the ARPPIPS, as well as the regulations and codes of ethics, regardless of the circumstances or methods used. This obligation applies to all the personal information representatives have in their possession, be it information on current clients, former clients, or other representatives.

Recap of Obligations:

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6. Conflicts of Interest

Conflicts of interest were the sixth reason for complaints in 2017. This category includes all issues related to the appearance of a conflict, be it personal or professional, or related to commercial, legal or financial interests. The category also includes all situations in which the representative’s practice could be influenced, as well as situations where the representative could lose his professional independence or could privilege interests that would be detrimental to those of his client, regardless of whether it actually causes harm.

For example, lending money to a client or limiting the time spent on each client-call in order to pad the statistics used for performance evaluation are both examples of conflicts of interest in this category that resulted in a disciplinary ruling.

Recap of Obligations:

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7. Appropriation of Funds or Tangible Assets

Finally, the seventh most important cause for complaint in 2017 was “appropriation of funds or tangible assets.” This category includes all issues associated with theft, appropriation, use for other purposes of funds entrusted to the professional.

Recap of Obligations:

Going a Step Further

Every complaint the Syndic’s Office receives is carefully reviewed. An independent, confidential investigation is carried out to verify whether the professional against whom the complaint was made did indeed commit the disciplinary offense. With the exception of the investigators responsible for the file, no one knows that the professional is under investigation. This highly confidential process is only made public if the Syndic decides to file a formal complaint against the professional before the Discipline Committee of the ChAD.

To learn more, read Processing of Complaints at

6/5/2018 8:16:01 PM