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INSURANCE EXPERT WITNESS - Areas of Expertise

Agent and Broker Standards and Practices
This category of case is the most common area of consultation. Since the agent, broker or registered representative is the only constant throughout the entire process of soliciting, procuring and completing the application, forwarding it to a carrier for an underwriting decision and servicing the owner of the policy after purchase, he/she is the one participant familiar with the client and the process from start to finish.

In all of these roles the agent has duties and standards imposed from various sources, often concurrently. Depending on the source of the dispute, the agent can often be an excellent source of first hand knowledge and information unknown by many, or even all, of the other parties to a given transaction.

Having been charged with the responsibility and the actual experience gained from hiring, training and supervising agents and brokers for many years it is well understood what the proper role of the broker and are is and what standards must be applied to these roles. The agent/broker has many duties and responsibilities in any insurance transaction and these duties must be met. Some are common sense good business practices while others are known only to those involved in the insurance business.

Primary among the duties of the agent/broker is to keep the best interest of the client uppermost in mind in all dealings. This includes performing such tasks as taking a proper fact finding process to ascertain the exact needs and goals of the client before recommending a product solution. It is also very important to know other factors about the client such as risk tolerance, financial sophistication and both the intent and result of prior plans. The agent/broker should also make certain the client completely and fully understands the solutions and products being recommended for purchase.

Standards of professional conduct can be enforced on the agent depending on how he conducted himself and how he handled his responsibilities and duties. Most agents are required to carry professional liability coverage (Errors and Omissions) in the event they are deemed to have failed in their duties and responsibilities.

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