Insurance Agents and the Standard of Care in South Carolina
By Wesley D. Peel, Esq. of Powell, Wall & Mullins, LLC
In South Carolina, insurance agents are generally treated as salesmen in that they provide customers with the policy they request.
Agents are liable when they fail to procure insurance requested by customer, do not follow customer instructions or if the policy is voided, materially deficient or does not provide the proper coverage specified by the customer due to the fault or neglect of the agent.
- Agents will be held liable for affirmative representations of specific coverages if they are mistaken.
- Agents can assume a duty to a customer through an express or implied undertaking, but requests for full coverage or the best coverage are inadequate to impose a duty of care.
- Agents do not have a duty to procure insurance at the best possible terms.
- Agents have no duty to sell the best policy at the lowest possible price.
- South Carolina courts may begin analyzing agency liability under a professional negligence standard.