What Is “Acting As An Agent” For Insurance Purposes?

Weatherford insurance attorneys need to read and know Texas Insurance Code, section 4001.051.  This section provides an expansive list of conduct that constitutes “acting as an agent” for an insurance company, as follows:

a) This section applies regardless of whether an insurer is incorporated under the laws of this state or another state or a foreign government.

(b) Regardless of whether the act is done at the request of or by the employment of an insurer, broker, or other person, a person is the agent of the insurer for which the act is done or risk is taken for purposes of the liabilities, duties, requirements, and penalties provided by this title, Chapter 21, or a provision listed in Section 4001.009 if the person:

(1) solicits insurance on behalf of the insurer;

(2) receives or transmits other than on the person’s own behalf an application for insurance or an insurance policy to or from the insurer;

(3) advertises or otherwise gives notice that the person will receive or transmit an application for insurance or an insurance policy;

(4) receives or transmits an insurance policy of the insurer;

(5) examines or inspects a risk;

(6) receives, collects, or transmits an insurance premium;

(7) makes or forwards a diagram of a building;

(8) takes any other action in the making or consummation of an insurance contract for or with the insurer other than on the person’s own behalf; or

(9) examines into, adjusts, or aids in adjusting a loss for or on behalf of the insurer.

(c) This section does not authorize an agent to orally, in writing, or otherwise alter or waive a term or condition of an insurance policy or an application for an insurance policy.

(d) The referral by an unlicensed person of a customer or potential customer to an agent is not an act of an agent under this section unless the unlicensed person discusses specific insurance policy terms or conditions with the customer or potential customer.

Additionally, Section 4001.052 provides:

(a) A person who solicits an application for life, accident, or health insurance or property or casualty insurance is considered the agent of the insurer issuing a policy on the application and not the agent of the insured in any controversy between the insurer and the insured, the insured’s beneficiary, or the insured’s dependents.

(b) The agent may not alter or waive a term or condition of the application or policy.

A good resource for finding agents and adjusters is the Texas Department of Insurance.  This resource has relevant information about the respective agents and adjusters.