While some insurance coverage is gained through group plans from an individual’s employment, many types of insurance require private policies. In order to get private insurance policies you have to go through an insurance broker or insurance agent.
Most people and businesses in Vancouver have many kinds of insurance, with a few examples being:
● Homeowners Insurance
● Automobile Insurance
● Long-Term Disability Insurance
● Critical Illness Insurance
● Business Interruption Insurance
● Travel Insurance
● Pet Insurance
● Rental Insurance
● Travel Insurance
● Identity Theft Insurance
● Cyber Insurance
What’s The Difference Between an Agent and a Broker?
An insurance agent is a representative of an insurance company. When they negotiate an insurance policy with you, they are an extension of the insurance company and their loyalty lies with the insurer.
An insurance broker on the other hand is independent of any one insurance company and their loyalty is supposed to be with the individual or business looking for insurance coverage.
For all practical purposes, both insurance agents and insurance brokers are an intermediary between the insurer and the insured. The only significant difference from the consumer viewpoint is an insurance agent will only offer you insurance products from their insurance company while an insurance broker can offer you insurance products from any insurance company.
While this may seem like it always makes sense to go with an insurance broker, insurance agents are usually better trained with respect to the insurance products they offer and can usually get better pricing and find the best insurance for your needs.
What If My Insurance Agent Or Insurance Broker Makes A Mistake?
While it’s usually the last thing any person or business wants to see happen, the reality is many insurance claims are denied every year in Vancouver. Denied insurance claims can be for anything from fixing a car due to a small fender bender to refusing to rebuild a house after a disastrous fire, or denying long-term disability benefits someone was relying on to keep them financially afloat when a critical illness strikes.
The impact of a denied insurance claim can be devastating.
There are many reasons an insurance claim could be denied. Sometimes it’s because the loss occurred in a manner excluded in the insurance policy. Sometimes it’s because the insured person or business misrepresented a material fact in the insurance application process.
Vancouver Insurance Denial Lawyers
However, there are times when the insurance denial occurs because of something the insurance agent or broker did wrong. If that happens then you could have a claim against the insurance agent or broker for negligence. Ben Tarnow, an insurance denial lawyer with Taylor & Blair LLP says that “insurance brokers and insurance agents are usually the ones communicating the facts surrounding the insurance policy applications to the insurance companies.
They need to give the correct advice and get the information from the party seeking to be insured and then communicate the advice given and information gathered to the insurance company so they can decide whether or not to grant insurance coverage.
If a mistake is made by the broker or agent at any step along the way, and that mistake leads to a denial of insurance coverage when a claim is made, you would have to sue your insurance broker or agent for negligence.”
Common Insurance Broker & Agent Mistakes
Applying for an insurance policy is a complex endeavour and there are plenty of points in the process where mistakes can occur. However, there are two main areas where mistakes most often occur.
The most common area mistakes occur is during the application process itself. Insurance brokers and agents make a living by selling insurance policies. Their motivation is to sell as many policies as they can. Sometimes this can lead to rushing the process and cutting corners.
A broker or agent should go through the entire application with the potential insured in detail and make sure they understand the questions being asked and the implications of their answers. Rushing through the process, or making assumptions can often lead to applications being improperly filled out or represented as false information to the insurance company.
Prudent insurance brokers
Another common mistake that occurs with insurance brokers and agents is when they don’t investigate the needs of the persons or businesses seeking insurance to ensure they have the right kind of, an adequate amount of, insurance coverage. Everyone knows how expensive home prices have become in Vancouver in the last decade as well as how the cost of building materials has increased.
If you were to refinance your home mortgage from a previous mortgage obtained in 1980, a prudent insurance broker or agent would make sure that the replacement coverage amount in your new policy was increased to ensure that you could actually afford to rebuild your home after a fire.
If they don’t and a fire occurs and the policy payout is not enough to actually rebuild your house then the coverage you were provided was not adequate for the purpose you bought the policy for in the first place. If the insurance broker or agent didn’t warn you about this they were likely negligent.
What To Do If Your Insurance Broker Or Agent Makes A Mistake?
The most important thing to do when your insurance claim is denied and you think it is due to a mistake is for everyone who was in attendance at the meeting with the insurance broker or agent where the Insurance application was completed to write down as many details as they can remember.
Where the meeting took place, who was there, what was said, if the insurance broker or agent actually showed you the questions or just asked you them, if they said they would follow up with your doctor or accountant and whether or not they did, and any other important things.
Another important step is to collect all documented communication between you and the insurance broker or agent.
Insurance Agent Negligence In Vancouver Conclusion
Insurance brokers and insurance agents are only human, and in any industry human error will eventually come into play.
If you have an insurance claim that was denied by the negligence of an insurance broker or agent there is likely no recourse available other than suing them. In cases like these, there are strict timelines you have to act in otherwise your claim could be barred by the limitations act. If you feel like your insurance broker or agent let you down, contact an insurance denial lawyer today.