Insurance Agent Liability

What happens if you pay for insurance, thinking that you have a certain type of coverage, and it turns out that you did not have the coverage that you thought you had?  Can you sue the insurance agent who helped you get the coverage?  It recently became much easier to do so thanks to the Iowa Supreme Court’s December 30, 2010 decision in Langwith v. American National General Insurance Company, which clarified and expanded Iowa law regarding insurance agents’ liability for bad advice.


The Langwith court overruled an earlier decision that allowed negligence claims against insurance agents only if the agent claimed to be an insurance specialist, consultant, or counselor and received compensation for consultation and advice apart from the premiums paid by the insured.  Langwith concluded that such a standard was too narrow and restrictive.  Although those two considerations are useful, other factors in determining whether the insurance agent has assumed a duty to give good advice are the nature and content of any discussions between the client and the agent, any prior dealings between the agent and the client, and the knowledge and sophistication of the client.  The client has the burden of proving that the insurance agent has a duty to render additional services, such as giving advice about coverage, beyond the general duty to simply secure the coverage requested by the client.  Otherwise, the insurance agent has no obligation to advise a client regarding additional coverage or risk management.


Erbe Law Firm can help with your insurance law claim, including those in which you believe that your insurance agent gave you bad advice or failed to secure the coverage that you requested.  If you need a Des Moines insurance law attorney, contact Erbe Law Firm today.


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