Peter J. Biging, co-chair of Goldberg Segalla’s Management and Professional Liability group, was quoted in an article for My New Markets discussing how insurance agents and brokers should prepare for a surge of agency errors and omissions (E&O) lawsuits in 2021.
In the article, Peter talks about how a lot of the activity in the agent E&O area is the alleged failure to advise what coverage to have or purchase, and how there’s no duty to advise on the scope, amount, or type of coverage—except when special circumstances exist.
“It’s the insured’s responsibility to request the type of insurance coverage and the amount of coverage needed,” he said. “The reason for that is generally that the customer is in the best position to know his or her needs, the level of premium he or she’s willing to pay, the amount of uninsured risk, and on the other end, that they’re willing to absorb. If you require the agent or broker to recommend types or amount of coverage, in all circumstances, that leads to Pandora’s box of a whole bunch of problems.”
Peter also noted that there are operational issues as a result of COVID-19 that could influence communication with clients, many who may need to cut costs or may need something different than they previously had.
“You’ve got brokers who typically would have their insureds into their office and see them visually sign the application and that’s not going to happen, or it’s not happening,” Peter said. “You have situations where brokers will go to visit locations as they normally would and eyeball the circumstances that might’ve changed, and they’re not necessarily doing that now.”
“Experts Expect Surge in Insurance Agency E&O Lawsuits in 2021,” My New Markets, March 11, 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. He also regularly litigates labor and employment practices liability claims, commercial disputes, and municipal liability claims premised on alleged civil and constitutional violations.