PropertyCasualty360.com regularly highlights independent agents and brokers, so let's declare today "Independents' Day!"

I've been defending agents and brokers for 36 years. The cases I've seen fall into two main groups: failure to place coverage and failure to exercise independent judgment. Here, I'm focusing on the second type of alleged error from the plaintiff's point of view.

Independence in this context is purely contractual: If the professional is able to offer only the products of the one insurer with which they are contracted (a captive or career agent, as they are sometimes called) the agent is not independent. But many agents have nonexclusive agency agreements with multiple carriers, and they may also act as brokers in representing applicants to insurers with which they have no agency agreements.

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