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Should Agents Copy Insurers on Certificates of Insurance?

Here's why it's always a good idea to send copies of issued certificates to a carrier—even if the carrier claims to not want them.
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Q: “Is it still necessary to send a copy of certificates we have issued to a carrier? Many carriers say they don't want them, but it has been my understanding that sending them a copy is proper protocol. Has that changed? What issues do we avoid if we continue to send them?”

A: “The Big ‘I’ Virtual University addresses this topic in an article titled ‘Should Agents Send Certificates to Insurers?

Sometimes if a lawsuit occurs because a certificate doesn’t match the actual policy forms, it’s unclear whether the discrepancy arose with the agency or the insurer. The article cites two court cases in which the insurer tried to bail on the agency, arguing it never saw the certificate and thus cannot be responsible for any discrepancies.

On top of that, insurers should be examining certificates to ensure agents are issuing them within underwriting guidelines and in accordance with not only the agency/company agreement but also state insurance laws, regulations and DOI directives.

Certificates of Insurance are issued by agencies on behalf of insurers, and the latter might be astounded at how agencies are representing policy coverages and what information they are placing on certificates. It’s in the carrier's best interest to at least do some QC when copied on certificates.”

Bill Wilson is director of the Big “I” Virtual University.

This question was originally submitted by an agent through the VU’s Ask an Expert Service. Answers to other coverage questions are available on the VU website. If you need help accessing the website, email to request login information.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
Commercial Lines