Retain Copy of Release when Claims filed
In a recent decision named Alpine Fresh, the third district court of appeal determined a release of the insurance company and its “agents” signed in the underlying litigation was also a release of the independent insurance agent who provided the policy to the insured.
The insurance agents in this case were “general lines agents,” as defined in section 626.015(5)(a)–(e), Florida Statutes (2010), for various insurance companies including Zurich. As insurance agents, they had the authority to bind Zurich when writing a policy for a prospective insured. Although the agents sold other lines of insurance besides Zurich, whether a broker is an agent of the insurer or the insureddepends on the facts of the particular situation.
The release signed by the Plaintiff before they targeted the agent as a defendant released both Zurich and its agents resulting in no case against the insurance agents in this case.
Practice Tip: When an insured files a claim, request that the insurer provide you with a copy of the release and make sure agents are listed on the release as well.