Even Insurance Agents Need Insurance
Rutter & Russin fights for policyholders to obtain all of the coverage to which they are entitled. However, sometimes the problem is not the insurance company, but the inadequacy of the policy that was issued. Due to insurance agent negligence, there may be no coverage or inadequate coverage for the loss that has ensued.
Insurance agent claims (E&O claims) are a kind of professional malpractice claim, and are subject to unique rules and challenges. We have litigated numerous such claims and can spot the pertinent issues quickly, such as:
- An agent's responsibility for mistakes on an insurance application
- An agent's responsibility to suggest appropriate types of coverage
- An agent's responsibility to discuss adequate policy limits
- An agent's responsibility when issuing a claims made policy as opposed to an occurrence policy
Get help from a firm that handles insurance agent malpractice claims on a regular basis. Contact Rutter & Russin, experienced in insurance agent negligence.
A tornado wiped out 20 apartment buildings in an 80-building complex. All of the destroyed buildings were supposed to be insured, but due to someone's fault they were not. The agent blamed the broker, the broker blamed the agent, they both blamed the insurance company, and all three argued that the insured's claimed damages were too high. It took four years, 20 depositions and six expert witnesses, but Rutter & Russin was finally able to sort out and assign responsibility for the fiasco and resolve the claim.
A sudden storm caused a sewer line to back up and flood the entire lower level of a suburban home, resulting in extensive water damage. The homeowner thought he was insured, but the carrier pointed to an exclusion in the policy for flood damage. The homeowner turned to Rutter & Russin for help, and the firm's work discovered that the agent had erroneously failed to secure the proper type of coverage. The agent's own insurance company stepped in to settle the case for a confidential amount.
The fire that severely damaged a pallet business was bad enough, but when the insured discovered that it was seriously underinsured, a bad situation turned into a disaster. The insured's long-time insurance agent had recommended a certain level of coverage, which the insured agreed to. Unbeknownst to the insured, however, the agent had performed a building evaluation that concluded the insured's building should actually be insured for a far greater amount. The agent, when confronted with the evidence during the course of the ensuing lawsuit, eventually admitted that he had made a mistake, but could offer no explanation for his action. His E&O insurer wisely settled the case before trial.
The insured called a new agent and answered several questions over the telephone. The agent then sent the application to the insured for signature. The insured signed, believing all of the answers were correct. However, the agent failed to disclose on the application that the insured's house was under construction and was unoccupied. The insurance company, assuming the house was occupied by the homeowner, issued a standard homeowners policy instead of a builder's risk policy. When a fire leveled the house, the insurer denied the claim based on a perceived application misrepresentation. Rutter & Russin sued both the agent and the insurer, and established during the course of discovery that both defendants were at fault. The case finally settled shortly before trial after two mediations.