It happens more often than you might think: A policy change request gets lost, an agent forgets to check the right box on a form or misses some other step in the process, and you’re told you don’t actually have the coverage you asked for. All too often, people learn the discouraging news after a car accident * involving an auto on which they had requested new or different coverage when the insurance carrier tells them that they have no claim.
However, you do have options. An experienced personal injury attorney can guide you through what can be a complex process. If you require assistance, contact our office to speak with a lawyer.
An attorney’s approach to handling a claim against an agent can depend upon several factors, including, initially, whether the agent who sold the policy is a “captive agent” or a “broker agent.”
- A captive agent represents one insurance company. Dealings with that agent are treated as dealing directly with the insurance company itself. A captive agent works on behalf of his insurance company, so and the company is responsible for any mistake the agent makes. Both the agent and the insurance carrier are the targeted parties in a claim against a captive agent.
- A broker, on the other hand, sells policies from many insurance companies and is an independent business. When you tell an independent broker to make a change to your policy, the broker has to send the change to the insurance carrier and the carrier must adopt the change before it applies. If a broker’s mistake means the insurance carrier never amends its policy, the carrier typically isn’t responsible for paying the claim that involves an unadopted change. If the broker fails to follow through on the order you place for a change, such as adding a new vehicle, or makes a mistake in doing so, you can seek compensation from the broker’s own “errors and omissions,” (E&O) insurance, which may be with an entirely different insurer.
It’s important to understand that insurers can follow different practices than the above. Some may carry E&O insurance to cover mistakes by agents, whether a captive agent or a broker, while others may have a policy of simply adopting a policy change involving agent error, giving coverage to the insured despite the mistake.
Getting you the coverage you deserve after an insurance agent makes a mistake can be a complicated process requiring skill and experience. Agents and insurance companies may point fingers at each other, especially in a big claim. An agent or an insurer may bring in the other party so the plaintiff’s attorney has to oppose not one, but two lawyers. If you’ve been injured in a car accident and learn you don’t have coverage because an agent made a mistake, it’s crucial to contact a personal injury lawyer sooner rather than later.
Our firm has recovered more than $125 million on behalf of victims. We are ready to assist you. Contact us today to speak with a Rochester car accident lawyer experienced in dealing with insurance companies.
Besides Rochester, we serve the following major southeast Minnesota cities: Red Wing, Winona, Mankato, Austin, Albert Lea, and Owatonna, and all outlying communities, as well as the cities of Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, and Bloomington. We also serve the Iowa cities of Mason City, Charles City, Osage, Spencer, Garner, Forest City, and Northwood and the Wisconsin cities of La Crosse, Onalaska, Sparta, Viroqua, River Falls, Ellsworth, Whitehall, and Black River Falls.
*A note about language:
Federal agencies involved in traffic safety have banned use of the word “accident” for more than 20 years, and with good reason. However, we use the word “accident” on our website, even though we know it has implications that run contrary to our professional thinking and training, because we recognize that “accident” is the word most commonly used in online searches when people are looking for help after being injured in a crash. If you’d like more information about this topic, please see our blog, “Car Accident or Car Crash?”