Agent Contracts: Everything You Need to Know
Agent contracts are legal agreements in which the terms and conditions are specified for the agent, or agency, to perform required services for an insurance company.3 min read
2. A Company's Duties
3. Responsibility for Records Maintenance
Agent contracts are legal agreements in which the terms and conditions are specified for the agent, or agency, to perform required services for an insurance company. In a contract, the words “party” and “parties” may be used to refer to the “agent” and “agency.”
There are many different types of agents, such as publishing or marketing agents, or insurance agents working for larger companies. The following is a summary of standard items found in a typical contract between agents and insurance companies that they represent.
An Agent's Duties
If an agent works for an agency, that agency is responsible for making sure the agents follow the duties specified in the agency contract. These include:
- Complying with any regulations and laws relating to the agreement, and not holding the company responsible in case the agent fails to do so.
- Maintaining all licenses that it needs to operate under current regulations and laws.
- Providing copies of any licenses it holds to the company, upon request.
- Making sure that all the agency's employees are properly licensed as required within their industry.
- Complying with company rules regarding proposals, applications, and their submissions.
Agents accepting contracts such as these must understand they have no authority to make changes and will ensure that the facts presented in any customer application are correct and truthful. They should also maintain the reputation and good standing of the company by their good conduct.
An agent working for an agency must not use the company's advertising, trademarks, or name without the consent of the company. Such approved advertising, which is prepared for the company, should be made available for the agent's use. It is permissible for the agent to add his contact information to the standard advertising. Other alterations are not permitted.
Agents are considered independent contractors, not employees of the company. The company will not be held responsible for any legal action, damages, expenses, attorney fees, and other issues resulting from the negligence or fraud of the agent or agent's employees. The agent should carry their own insurance coverage to protect against liability.
If the company requires reports, the agent needs to prepare and send them, in the correct format, on a timely basis.
A Company's Duties
The company's responsibilities depend on the type of product being sold by the agents specified in the contract. Regardless of the product, the company is required to provide brochures and other marketing collateral that the agent can use for sales campaigns. All policy information, certificates, correspondence, or any other documentation will be provided as well, as indicated by company policies.
If an agent sends an inquiry or question about the product, the company shall make every effort to respond quickly. Companies are also responsible for managing administrative tasks such as accounting and statistics. This includes information on insurance premiums, effective dates, claims, underwriting, coverage limits, and other relevant information for each insured customer of the agency.
The company maintains the ability and right to reject customers' applications for insurance policies that the agent submits or to discontinue policies as long as sixty days' notice is provided.
Responsibility for Records Maintenance
Both the company and agent are responsible for maintaining several important documents in a filing system; this includes the contract between the two parties, and all records relating to transactions between the two parties and individual customers. These records must be kept for seven years.
The company reserves the right to access the agent's records at any time for inspection, with reasonable notice; this may take place during regular business hours. Copies of all relevant documents will be obtained at the Company's expense. Whenever possible, electronic or automated documents will be accepted.
All data regarding policies, insurance customers' names and contact information, applications, and other documents remain the property of the company. This also includes any marketing collateral, computer applications, or other materials furnished by the company to the agents.
The company is required to keep any information about the agent confidential, and in turn, the agent must maintain as confidential, any information about the company that each is required to keep secret. This includes trade secrets, accounting and financial information, marketing strategy, and other information that is considered proprietary.
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