Peter J. Biging, co-chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Management and Professional Liability practice, contributed his opinion of the duties of the wholesale broker in an article for the Professional Liability Defense Quarterly, Fourth Quarter 2021 edition.
Presented in a point/counterpoint format, the article begins with the opinion of Frederick J. Fisher, president of Fisher Consulting Group in El Segundo, California, that “it is universally held that an insurance broker represents the insured.” In Fisher’s opinion, the wholesale broker has at least the same obligations to the insured as a retail producer—and sometimes more.
Peter respectfully disagrees, taking issue with the idea that a wholesale broker owes duties of care to the underlying insured with respect to the procurement of insurance. “The wholesale broker will typically not only be wholly unknown to the customer; the wholesale broker will typically have no contacts of any kind with the customer,” Peter wrote. “For this reason, if the coverage isn’t procured in a timely manner, or the wrong coverage is procured and the customer is left uninsured or underinsured for a loss, if a lawsuit is commenced the wholesale broker will typically take the position that the customer has no standing to pursue claims in either contract or common law negligence against the wholesaler.”
The article wraps up with a note from the Editor inviting readers to weigh in on the debate.
“The Role of the Wholesale Broker in Procurement of Coverage: What Duties Are Owed and to Whom?” Professional Liability Defense Quarterly, Fourth Quarter 2021
Peter J. Biging is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney with more than 30 years of experience as a litigator in the state and federal courts of New York. As co-chair of the firm’s nationwide Management and Professional Liability practice group, Peter counsels and defends directors and officers against claims alleging fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duties, and a variety of professionals against claims based on alleged errors and omissions (E&O) in the performance of their professional services.