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Insurance agents should not make representations regarding expertise or coverage for a specific claim.

April 1, 2018
Pullen v. Transguard Ins. Co. of America, Inc., 2018 U.S. Dist LEXIS 21177 (C.D. Cal. 2018)

A moving and storage company in California tendered the defense of a personal injury suit to Transguard, which denied coverage. The agent, Maciolek, was alleged to be a representative of Transguard who told the insured that Transguard had accepted the defense of the personal injury claim. The insured sought confirmation, but Transguard failed to respond to the insured’s request for defense costs after the underlying case was resolved at summary judgment. Transguard argued that Maciolek was fraudulently joined in the lawsuit to defeat diversity jurisdiction. However, the court noted that Maciolek was potentially a dual agent and, as such, could be held liable for misrepresentations regarding the extent or nature of coverage or if holds himself out as having expertise in a specific area of insurance. As the claim against the agent was colorable, the court found no fraudulent joinder. Agents of an insured are cautioned to avoid making any representations regarding the willingness or unwillingness of the carrier to defend a claim and should be mindful that representations of expertise may later be used to support a claim of negligence.

 

Case Law Alerts, 2nd Quarter, April 2018

Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2018 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.

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