Life Insurance Lawyers Need To Understand “Actual” Authority Of An Agent

Court’s have described actual authority this way:
“Actual” authority, which includes both express and implied authority, usually denotes that authority a principal:  (1) intentionally confers upon an agent; (2) intentionally allows the agent to believe that he possesses; or (3) allows the agent to believe that he possesses by want of due care … “Implied” actual authority exists only as an adjunct to express actual authority … because implied authority is that which is proper, usual, and necessary to the exercise of the authority that the principal expressly delegates …
According to the 1979, Texas Supreme Court opinion styled, Royal Globe Ins. Co. v. Bar Consultants, Inc., an agent may be given express authority to sell policies.  That express grant of authority would carry with it implied authority to explain the policy benefits.  A misrepresentation about the policy would be within the scope of the agent’s actual authority.
In the 1994, Texas Supreme Court opinion styled, Celtic Life Ins. Co. v. Coats, the insurance company authorized the agent to explain the policy, and as a result the insurance company was liable for the agent’s misrepresentation that the policy provided a greater amount of mental health benefits than it actually had.
The above should tell a reader of this blog that when an agent commits a wrong, the insurance company can be held accountable for the wrong that was committed by the agent.  If in doubt, talk with an experienced Insurance Law Attorney.
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