Life insurance companies, brokers and agents
Life insurance companies, brokers and agents must fulfill specific obligations under the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) and associated Regulations to help combat money laundering and terrorist financing in Canada. For the purposes of the PCMLTFA, a life insurance company means a life company or foreign life company to which the Insurance Companies Act applies or a life insurance company regulated by a provincial Act. A life insurance broker or agent means an individual or entity that is registered or licensed under provincial legislation to carry on the business of arranging contracts of life insurance.
Life insurance companies, brokers and agents are responsible for providing FINTRAC with certain transaction reports, for implementing a compliance program and for keeping records that may be required for law enforcement investigations. Their obligations under the PCMLTFA and associated Regulations are described below.
If you are a life insurance agent and an employee of a life insurance company or broker, these obligations are the responsibility of the life insurance company, except with respect to reporting suspicious transactions and terrorist property, which is applicable to both you and your employer.
A comprehensive and effective compliance program is the basis of meeting all of your obligations under the PCMLTFA and associated Regulations. During a FINTRAC examination, it is important to demonstrate that the required documentation is in place and that employees, agents, and all others authorized to act on your behalf are well trained and can effectively implement all the elements of your compliance program. A senior officer must approve the compliance program and the compliance officer must have the necessary authority to carry out the requirements of the program. You must:
- Appoint a compliance officer responsible for the implementation and oversight of the compliance program;
- Develop and apply written compliance policies and procedures that are kept up to date and approved by a senior officer;
- Apply and document a risk assessment, including mitigation measures and strategies;
- Develop and maintain a written training program for employees, agents, and others authorized to act on your behalf; and
- Review your compliance program (policies and procedures, risk assessment and training program) every two years for the purpose of testing its effectiveness.
See Compliance program requirements, the Risk-based approach guide and the Risk-based approach workbook for life insurance companies, brokers and agents for more information on these obligations.
Know your client
As a life insurance company, broker or agent, you must verify the identity of clients for certain activities and transactions according to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations (PCMLTFR). Part of knowing your client includes following the methods to identify clients, as well as conducting certain additional activities as listed below:
- When to identify individuals and confirm the existence of entities – Life insurance;
- Methods to identify individuals and confirm the existence of entities;
- Business relationship requirements;
- Ongoing monitoring requirements;
- Beneficial ownership requirements;
- Third party determination requirements; and
- Politically exposed persons and heads of international organizations – Life insurance.
Life insurance companies, brokers and agents are required to complete reports about certain transactions and property and submit them to FINTRAC. Financial transaction reports are critical to FINTRAC’s ability to analyze transactions in order to develop financial intelligence that is disclosed to law enforcement and partner agencies. Therefore, the quality of your reporting will be reviewed by FINTRAC in examinations.
Suspicious transactions: Within 30 days of determining that there are reasonable grounds to suspect that a transaction or an attempted transaction is related to the commission or attempted commission of a money laundering or terrorist financing offence, you must submit a suspicious transaction report (STR). The following STR guidance pieces explain how to identify and report STRs and all three should be read together. See What is a suspicious transaction report?, Reporting suspicious transactions to FINTRAC and Money laundering and terrorist financing indicators - Life insurance companies, brokers and agents.
Terrorist property: When you know that property in your possession or under your control is owned, controlled by or on behalf of a terrorist or a terrorist group, you must submit a report without delay. You must also submit a report to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). See Guideline 5: Submitting Terrorist Property Reports.
Large cash transactions: When you receive $10,000 CAD or more in cash (including taxes or other fees) either in a single transaction or in multiple transactions within a 24-hour period, you must submit a report within 15 calendar days. See Guideline 7A: Submitting Large Cash Transaction Reports to FINTRAC electronically and Guideline 7B: Submitting Large Cash Transaction Reports to FINTRAC by paper.
If you have a computer and an internet connection, you must submit all reports to FINTRAC electronically, except Terrorist Property reports, which can only be submitted on paper.
You are responsible for keeping certain transaction and client identification records. These records are to be kept in such a way that they can be provided to FINTRAC within 30 days if required to do so. See Record keeping for life insurance companies, brokers and agents for details.
Foreign branches, subsidiaries and affiliates
If you have foreign branches, foreign subsidiaries or affiliates, you have to develop policies to establish requirements similar to your record keeping and retention, client identity verification, and compliance program requirements. Furthermore, your compliance program must include an assessment of money laundering and terrorist activity financing risk related to the foreign branch, subsidiary or affiliate’s operations, and implement risk mitigation controls when the risk is considered to be high. See Foreign branches, subsidiaries and affiliates requirements.
Penalties for non-compliance
Non-compliance with Part 1 or 1.1 of the PCMLTFA may result in criminal or administrative monetary penalties.
FINTRAC has created a Guidance glossary that defines certain terms used throughout its guidance documents.
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