I recently read an article on the website of the Insurance Journal that got me thinking. The article was written by an insurance risk management specialist that makes his living helping insurance agents and agencies protect themselves.
After reading the aricle, it occured to me that most people probably only think of their insurance agent as the man or woman who sells them their automobile, motorcycle, boat, or homeowners coverage. However, many times the very first person that an insurance customer talks to when a claim takes place is their agent or a customer service representative in the agent’s office.
The thrust of the article was to point out to insurance agents that they, and their agencies, can face liability for bad advice given regarding a claim – even though they don’t technically handle claims. For example, if a customer finds out about a claim being made against them, and call their agent for advice, the agent could be liable if he gave the insured customer advice that jeopardized or voided his insurance coverage.
An example might be an insurance policy that required the insured to report a claim in a certain way, or within a certain time limit, in order to be a covered claim. If the insurance agent told his customer not to worry about the claim, or allowed the time limit to lapse, the agent could be liable for value of the claim.
As an Orlando insurance dispute attorney, I am not sure that consumers realize that their insurance agent can be liable for giving bad advice about claims (as well as for giving bad advice about which insurance coverage to purchase.) Agents are supposed to be more experienced, and more knowledgable, about various aspects of the insurance business than their customers — not only sales of insurance policies.
If you have questions about insurance agents’ responsibilities, or if you believe your insurance agent has given you mistaken advice about a claim, call Winter Park personal injury attorney Kim Cullen at 407-644-4444.