People buy insurance policies for the protection that it provides them. Often, people buy their policies from a person they consider to be a trusted friend and adviser. Insurance agents and brokers often offer multiple lines of policies that may protect both your home and your business. Many insurance agencies and brokers have also moved into acting as banks and/or securities salespeople, further enhancing their image of a trusted source for advice about asset protection and insurance. Unfortunately, not all insurance agents and brokers are as fully qualified as they should be, and even those that are very good at their jobs sometimes make errors that can leave their clients with no protection and a huge financial nightmare.
Ethical Standard of Service
It is the responsibility of the agent or broker to fulfill the insurance needs of their client. This includes keeping the client informed on their coverage and policies, finding the best policies at the best price for their clients, collecting premiums, negotiating with insurance companies, renewing and reviewing policies, and doing paperwork and keeping records of the policies and correspondence with involved parties. The agent or broker is in charge of a large workload, and a small error can result in huge damages to the client.
Failing to obtain the proper coverage or having insufficient coverage may give rise to a claim of negligence against the agent and/or broker involved in obtaining the policy. Such negligence may not become apparent until after a claim has occurred, and benefits have been denied to the insured. Often, the mistakes made by the agent or broker could easily have been avoided had they properly fulfilled their professional responsibilities. Our law firm’s experienced attorneys have successfully pursued cases against agents and brokers involving both personal and business policies. Often claims against the agent or broker are closely involved with an insurance coverage dispute claim against the insurance company.
Some insurance agents are captive agents, who are actually employees, or closely affiliated with the insurance company itself. Other agents and brokers are independent and act as a conduit for selling various insurance company policies.
Insurance claims for negligence against agents can involve failure to properly file and submit paperwork, failure to properly advise clients of coverage options, failure to obtain insurance that has been requested, misappropriation of policy premium payments, failure to timely renew coverage, improper notice of cancellation of coverage, misrepresentation, and other claims of errors and omissions.