Orange County Lawyer Publishes Article in July 2018 edition by Robert J. McKennon Entitled “Insurers’ Intermediaries: The Implications of Actions Taken by Agents, Employers, and Third-Party Administrators”

Posted in: Accidental Death or Dismemberment, Agent/Broker, Bad Faith, Disability Insurance, ERISA, Health Insurance, Legal Articles, Life Insurance July 13, 2018

In July 2018, The Orange County Bar Association published an article written by Robert J. McKennon and Stephanie L. Talavera of the McKennon Law Group PC in the Orange County Lawyer.  The article addresses the liability implications of the relationship between insurers and various types of intermediaries.  As the article explains, depending on the nature of the relationship between the insurer and others involved in the process, the insurer may be held liable for the actions of those who act as its intermediaries.  The article gives tips on how to make an insurer vicariously liable for the acts of those functioning as intermediaries in the insurance process.

Insurers’ Intermediaries: The Implications of Actions Taken by Agents, Employers and Third-Party Administrators

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Opportunistic Rescission: When Do Insurers Waive their Right to Rescind an Insurance Policy?

Posted in: Accidental Death or Dismemberment, Agent/Broker, Disability Insurance, Disability Insurance News, Health Insurance, Insurance Litigation Blog, Life Insurance, News, Waiver & Estoppel July 12, 2018

All too often, we see insurance companies deny insurance claims by attempting to opportunistically rescind insurance policies. This practice has become more prevalent in recent years as insurers look for ways to deny insurance claims.

Anyone who has purchased a disability, life or health insurance policy is likely familiar with the significant paperwork involved in the insurance application process. The paperwork includes policy notices, policy applications, supplemental policy applications, personal history questionnaires, policy warnings, medical examination documents, etc. These will include numerous and detailed questions relevant (and often not so relevant) to the risk being insured. An insurance agent or broker will ask questions on the policy application and often additional questions not on the application. Only after the applicant …

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Agents, Brokers and Rescission of Insurance Policies

Posted in: Accidental Death or Dismemberment, Agent/Broker, Disability Insurance News, Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Litigation Blog, Life Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance April 09, 2018

Generally, an insurer need not investigate statements made in an application for insurance, subject to certain exceptions. Instead, the potential policyholder or applicant must fully disclose all known material information. If a potential insured does not correctly disclose information on an application (even innocently), the insurer may later try to rescind the insurance policy. When an insurer “rescinds” a policy, it renders the contract as if it never existed and frees both parties from their obligations under the contract. Practically, this means that the insurance company is no longer obligated to pay the claims for life insurance, accident insurance, health insurance, long-term care insurance or long-term disability insurance benefits and the policyholder no longer has to pay the policy’s premiums. …

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Case highlights importance of agent-broker distinction. Daily Journal Publishes McKennon Law Group PC Article.

Posted in: Agent/Broker September 11, 2014

The September 11, 2014 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon’s article entitled:  “Case highlights importance of agent-broker distinction.”  In it, Mr. McKennon discusses a new case, Douglas v. Fidelity National Insurance Co., 2014 DJDAR 12127 (Aug. 29, 2014), which highlights the critical importance in insurance coverage cases, especially disability insurance and life insurance cases, of the legal distinction between agents and brokers.  Mr. McKennon explains why this distinction can alter the outcome of a case or insurance claim.  The article is posted below with the permission of the Daily Journal.

Case highlights importance of agent-broker distinction

Insurance agent or insurance broker? In everyday parlance these two terms are often used interchangeably to mean a salesperson …

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Insurance Brokers' Duties to Third Parties Continue to Shrink

Posted in: Agent/Broker May 01, 2013

The Wednesday May 1, 2013 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon and Victor Xu’s article entitled:  “Insurance Brokers’ Duties to Third Parties Continue to Shrink.”  In it, Mr. McKennon and Mr. Xu discuss how a new appellate decision- Travelers Property Co. of America v. Superior Court 2013 DJDAR 5005 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 2013)- clarifies and limits the duties owed by insurance brokers to third-party claimants.  The article discusses how in Travelers, the court specifically addressed the holding in Nowlon v. Koram Insurance Center, Inc., 1 Cal.App.4th 1437 (1991) and limited the holding in that case to the unique circumstances of negligence per se.  The article also discusses how Travelers does not foreclose the possibility of …

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Insurance Agents May Be the Key to Insurer Liability

Posted in: Agent/Broker November 02, 2012

The Thursday November 1, 2012 edition of the Los Angeles Daily Journal featured Robert McKennon and Reid Winthrop’s front-page article entitled:  “Insurance Agents Key to Insurer Liability.”  In it, Mr. McKennon and Mr. Winthrop discuss how agents can be the key to rendering insurers liable for policy coverage.  The article discusses the difference between “brokers” and “agents,” including “dual agents,” and discusses when and how to make the case that a “broker” is really an “agent” for purposes of imputing liability to an insurance company.  The article also discusses how to respond to an insurer’s argument that the policy terms control and the insured has a duty to read the policy.  The article is posted below with the permission of …

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New California Law Requires That Insurers and Agents Verify that an Annuity is Suitable for the Consumer

Posted in: Agent/Broker, Annuities, Insurance Commissioner, Legislation September 30, 2011

California Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a new law that will provide increased protection to seniors and other consumers who are interested in purchasing an annuity.  AB 689, which was sponsored by the California Department of Insurance and authored by Assembly Budget Committee Chair Bob Blumenfield (D-San Fernando Valley), requires that insurers verify that an annuity purchase is suitable and appropriate for the consumer based on an evaluation of his or her age, income, financial objectives and ten other factors.  The bill was unanimously passed by both the state Senate and the state Assembly.…

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Insurance Brokers/Agents and Their Customers: Not the Relationship You Might Have Expected

Posted in: Agent/Broker, Case Updates May 23, 2011

Do insurance brokers owe fiduciary duties to their clients?  Under California law, until recently, this was an open question.  Most attorneys, especially those representing policyholders, included a breach of fiduciary duty cause of action when suing an insurance broker/agent in actions that involve broker/agent malpractice.  And, some include these claims when suing a broker/agent and an insurance company for insurance bad faith.  California law has now been clarified with the California Court of Appeals for the Second Appellate District’s decision in Workmen’s Auto Insurance Company v. Guy Carpenter & Company, Inc., __ Cal. App. 4th __, Cal. App. LEXIS 533 (May 4, 2011), that held insurance brokers do not owe fiduciary duties to their clients.

Guy Carpenter & Co. Guy Carpenter & Co. …

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Excess Insurer v. Agent - No Right of Equitable Subrogation Under California Law

Posted in: Agent/Broker, Excess Insurance, General Liablity January 18, 2011

danger_bulls.jpgDelving into the sometimes arcane metes and bounds between insurers’ rights of equitable subrogation and equitable contribution, a California appellate court recently denied an excess insurer’s right to bring an equitable subrogation action against its insured’s agent for failing to renew another excess insurer’s policy that would have covered the same underlying bodily injury risk.  The appellate court expanded on the trial court’s reasoning, and concluded that the excess insurer could not establish at least two necessary elements of an action for equitable subrogation, and could not show that it had paid more than its fair share under the doctrine of equitable contribution.   James Dobbas, et al. v. Fred Vitas, et al., 2011 Cal. App. LEXIS 15 (January …

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