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Insurance Agent's Duty

When an insurance agent undertakes to procure insurance for a party he can become the party's agent and owe a duty to the party to act with reasonable care, skill and diligence. Kelley v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co., 748 S.W.2d 54, 56 (Mo. Ct. App. 1988). There could be a difference between the duty of an insurance broker who sells for several companies and an insurance agent working for only one company. Id. Whether a so-called "independent broker" as distinguished from one who sells only for one company is the agent of the insurer or the insured depends on the facts of a particular situation. Id. at 56-57.

“Failure of an agent to so notify his client renders the agent liable to the client for damages and the client, at his election, may sue the agent either for breach of contract or in tort for negligent breach of the agent's duty to timely notify the client that the requested insurance has not been obtained.” Pittman v. Great American Life Ins. Co., 512 S.W.2d 857 (Mo. Ct. App. 1974).at 57.

“A broker or agent who has undertaken to procure insurance is liable to his principal for the damage suffered by reason of a want of valid insurance resulting from his negligence or other breach of duty in failing to secure or replace insurance in accordance with his undertaking; An insurance agent is personally liable to an applicant in damages for a breach of his contract or agreement to procure insurance. If a broker or agent of the insured neglects to procure insurance, or does not follow instructions, or if the policy is void or materially defective, through the agent's fault, he is liable to his principal for any loss he may have sustained thereby.” Kap-Pel Fabrics, Inc. v. R. B. Jones & Sons, Inc., 402 S.W.2d 49, 53 (Mo. Ct. App. 1966)

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