Responsibilities Of Insurance Agents

Here is a list of responsibilities that insurance agents can be held responsible for failing to perform or performing incorrectly.

A.  From a 1948, El Paso Court of Appeals opinion styled, Burroughs v. Bunch, an insurance agent has a duty to procure the coverage entrusted to his care, or failing to do so, to immediately notify the insured of this fact.  A more recent opinion from the Tyler Court of Appeals, Critchfield v. Smith, which was issued in 2004, says this duty to procure is two distinct duties: (1) the duty to use reasonable diligence in attempting to place the requested insurance, and (2) the duty to inform the client promptly if unable to do so.

B.  From the 1992, Texas Supreme Court opinion styled, May v. United Services Association of American, requires that agents keep their insureds fully informed about the current status of a policy’s in force status.

C.  A 1987, Corpus Christi Court of Appeals opinion styled, Frank B. Hall & Co. v. Beach, Inc. requires an agent to understand the underwriting needs according to coverage peril, but not the coverage level.  In this case the agent knew his client transported oil field equipment, but failed to get coverage for the unloading of the equipment at the job site.

D.  A 1919, Beaumont Court of Appeals opinion styled, Shippers’ Compress Cp v. Northern Assurance Co., requires that agents use reasonable diligence and care in selecting an insurance carrier.

E.  An agent is required to, upon receipt of a policy, to review the policy to make sure that the coverage afforded comports to the coverage ordered by the insured, according the the 1960, Houston Court of Appeals opinion, Continental Casualty Co. v. Bock.

F.  When it comes to a customers’ new locations or property which the agent knows about, the 1992, Amarillo Court of Appeals opinion, McCall v. Marshall requires the agent to add the new location or property to the coverage.

G.  A 1915, Dallas Court of Appeals opinion requires an agent to avoid placing policies with a company the agent knows to be insolvent.  The opinion is Hancock v. Wilson.

H.  Common law requires an agent who receives a claim, to timely and correctly report the claim to the carrier.

I.  The May case above, requires an agent to actually obtain coverage set forth in a set of instructions from the insured.

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