Partner Eric G. Barber was a panelist in the Strafford webinar "Insurance Broker Liability to Policyholders for Denied Claims: Latest Case Law Developments," on May 11, 2016.
This CLE webinar will provide policyholder and insurer counsel with an examination of the evolving duties and standards that insurance brokers owe to policyholder clients. The program will review claims against brokers in coverage disputes and recent court decisions expanding a broker’s duties in certain circumstances and outline scenarios in which broker issues arise and best practices for brokers, insurance companies, and policyholders to follow in navigating potential liability issues.
A broker’s duty generally has been somewhat limited to serving as an independent intermediary to assist clients with securing the specific insurance coverage requested by the client. As corporate insurance programs grow in complexity, however, brokers often take on more specialized roles such as providing risk management services. Accordingly, the nature and scope of a broker’s duties can be at issue when an insurer denies a claim and the policyholder looks to its broker for coverage shortfalls.
Recent case law reflects the rapidly evolving landscape of broker obligations. In recent years, both New Jersey and New York Courts have provided guidance to brokers regarding the scope of their obligations to policyholders. A California court ruled that an agent whose negligence in failing to procure requested insurance coverage can in certain instances be imputed to the insurance company that issued the policy. Among other state courts examining broker liability in 2015 are Illinois and Mississippi.
Brokers may unwittingly increase their exposure—such as by acting as risk management consultants for policyholders or by putting together insurance programs with multiple brokers or agents.
Listen as our panel of insurance practitioners reviews the evolving duties and standards that insurance brokers owe to policyholder clients. The panel will discuss claims against brokers in coverage disputes and recent court decisions expanding a broker’s duties in certain circumstances. The panel will provide best practices for brokers, insurance companies and policyholders to follow in navigating potential liability issues.
I. Overview of the role brokers play, their duties, and potential liabilities
II. Recent claims and litigation trends—i.e., scope of duties owed, theories of liability, procedural issues, and damages
III. Best practices for insurers and brokers to minimize liability
IV. Best practices for policyholders to manage broker relationships and avoid pitfalls
The panel will review these and other key issues:
- Who is a broker/agent, and do brokers have dual agency obligations to both insurers and policyholders?
- What is the scope of a broker’s duties and obligations?
- What scenarios have resulted in expanded broker obligations?
- What are the appropriate measures of damages for policyholders bringing broker liability claims?
- What are common pitfalls facing brokers, and what steps can they take to minimize liability?
- What are ways in which policyholders can take precautions when dealing with brokers?