Insurance Decisions and Freeze and cease trade orders
Montréal - On August 8, 2011, at the request of the Autorité des marchés financiers (the "AMF"), the Bureau de décision et de révision (the "Bureau") cancelled the registration of Sherbrooke-based damage insurance firm Groupe Hallé Assurances et Services Financiers inc. and ordered the immediate transfer of records, books and registers in respect of its damage insurance practice to the AMF.
In its analysis, the Bureau highlighted the following facts as presented by the AMF:
- Misappropriation of funds from clients;
- Forgery of insurance contracts;
- Closing of the firm's bank accounts;
- Temporary cancellation of the registration of Jérôme Hallé, president of Groupe Hallé Assurances et Services Financiers inc., by the Chambre de l'assurance de dommages (ChAD);
- The serious consequences related to the absence of insurance coverage faced by swindled clients.
The AMF's investigation showed that Groupe Hallé Assurances et Services Financiers inc. and Jérôme Hallé had sent forged insurance policies to clients and that they had misappropriated the insurance premiums. These forged insurance policies were assigned non-existent policy numbers or, in some cases, simply carried old policy numbers assigned to other clients by insurance companies. Contrary to what some of the clients of Groupe Hallé Assurances et Services Financiers inc. believed, they were not insured.
For its part, the ChAD filed a second disciplinary complaint on July 21, 2011 containing 35 charges against Mr. Hallé, as well as a request for temporary cancellation of registration. In particular, it accuses Jérôme Hallé of issuing forged documents, dishonest conduct, misappropriation of insurance premiums and making misrepresentations.
To protect consumers and given the urgency of the situation, the AMF urges all clients of Groupe Hallé Assurances et Services Financiers inc. to contact the insurer named on their insurance policy issued by this firm to confirm the validity of their coverage. If any of the clients of this firm are unable to reach their insurer for any reason whatsoever, they can contact the AMF Information Centre at 1-877-525-0337 for assistance. Additionally, the AMF urges the clients of Groupe Hallé Assurances et Services Financiers inc. to contact their financial institution and revoke any regular pre-authorized payments made to the firm and not to an insurer.
The Autorité des marchés financiers (the "AMF") is the regulatory and oversight body for Québec's financial industry.
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Sylvain Théberge: 514-940-2176
Québec City: 418-525-0337