Since 1993, our school has stressed the importance of reviewing agent court cases against insurance agents as a training tool. When you think of it, knowing why other agents get sued is one of the most practical ways you can protect yourself. And it’s also one of the most valuable things an insurance CE provider can do for you. Why waste time learning redundant basics in an insurance class when what you really, really, really need to know is how agent legal issues can do damage to your agency and/or your family’s net worth.
Here are some instructive, meaningful lessons to learn from the outcomes of these agent court cases:
Grace v. Interstate – An agent learned that when his client reach age 65, he should not continue selling him health insurance he could get free through Medicare.
Sobotor v. Prudential – A client requested the “best available” auto insurance package from his agent. Uninsured motorist coverage was not discussed and it was left out. After a claim, the courts determined that a fiduciary relationship existed when the agent agreed to supply the best available policy.
Hohreiter v. Garrison – The Commissioner revoked the license of an agent who regularly entered false information about his client’s health on insurance applications.
Johnson v. Illinie Mutual – An agent was asked to insure a specific address. The agent wrote the policy for a different address and a subsequent claim was denied, thus opening the agent to a suit for failure to follow instructions.
Crobons v. St Paul – An agent thought he was helping a client when he witnessed someone other than the client sign a change of beneficiary. The client happened to be in a coma at the time!
These are just a small sample among hundreds of cases we discuss, in a very practical, non-legal way, in our California Insurance CE Courses. We’ve done the legwork for you so you can learn from others’ mistakes and protect yourself, your family, and your business.
Any unsatisfied customer can engage the best lawyer (sometimes on a contingency basis) to intimidate and litigate you for some form of damage. So it seems to me that using your required CE study credits to learn how indiscretions in your daily business might get you sued makes better sense than laboring through hours of generic CE content you already know.
Dave Schoeffler is Director of Affordable Educators, a California Insurance Continuing Education and California Prelicense Education Company.