Public Adjusters and Attorneys both can negotiate claims. However, only Attorneys can resolve negligence claims by Agents. How and when are insurance agents negligent?
Often it is asked what is my insurance agents role and when can he be held accountable for his mistakes. In other words, his or her’s negligence. If an Insurance agent is negligent he can be held accountable. His acts of negligence occur in varying situations such as in the selling and handling of various types of insurance policies, including fire, homeowners, disability, and medical insurance. Usually the negligent act is only discovered after a fire or other loss occurs.
An Insurance agents negligence can happen when you purchase your insurance policy. It may occur during a conversation. It can occur in letters that you send or receive from our agent. As commonly understood your insurance agent counsels you and presents you with the policy of insurance. A policy of insurance that is the appropriate type and amount of insurance to meet your needs. Mistakes do happen. Mistakes happen often when an agent is driven to sell a policy in order to earn a profit. Such conduct certainly leads to liability attributable to the agent. Poor conduct may be characterized as follows: (This is not an all inclusive list)
- Suggesting in adequate levels of coverage
- Suggesting the wrong type of insurance. Renters v Home Owner
- Failing to completely explain coverage, policy terms and rights under the policy
- Failing to provide the coverage that was promised
- Failing to file and transmit your documents to the insurance company
- Providing inaccurate information on insurance forms and applications
- Failing to advise you of insurance changes in coverage
- Collecting premiums and failing to transfer them to the insurance company
- Destroying documents
- Providing false information in order to secure premiums
- Providing false information in order to a claim
Other factors are taken into account. In order to prove an insurance agent was negligent the law looks at your relationship with the agent. It looks to what extent you relied on the agent. Was your reliance appropriate, was it reasonable, what was conveyed when choosing, purchasing, and/or handling a policy. Relevant issues usually include:
- Whether the agent received a fee for advice
- How many meetings and/or discussions you had with the agent
- How many policies you bought from the same agent
- Your level of sophistication and knowledge regarding insurance policies and procedures
- How was the insurance application completed
- Who completed the application
- Who verified the information
Your damages may vary depending on the type of claim made against your agent. In other words you may be allowed to receive the difference between the coverage provided and the coverage that you would have received if not for your agent’s negligence. In another case you may receive the value of the damages from the loss in the event your agent failed to place the policy. These are situations where you need an attorney. Not a Public Adjuster. Public Adjusters negotiate the amount of damages and in many situations are appropriate to use. Here they are not. They do not practice law and may not argue and assist for recovery against an agent. Also, depending on the current law of the State you may also receive payment for additional damages, such as attorneys’ fees and other damages.
Consult and speak with an Experienced Attorney not a Public Adjuster.
The Law Offices of Jason Harris understand these claims. We understand the complexity and know the right questions to ask. We have years of experience. This area of the law is complex and consideration should be given to use an attorney who specializes in this area and has a clear track record. The Law Offices of Jason Harris has such a record. You need an experienced attorney who knows the insurance industry and its practices to establish every element of negligence. If your insurance agent has been negligent, call us to today for a free no obligation consultation. 312-818-1318