The insurance broker forged my signature on the application for insurance for my business

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The insurance broker forged my signature on the application for insurance for my business

I own a small business, I found out my
insurance broker forged my signature on the
application. We file a claim for a broken pipe
and we were not covered for loss of revenue. I
asked her about the forged signature and she
said, ‘ don’t worry about that, that is why she
has e/o insurance.’ Come to find out we only
had general liability and not the umbrella
insurance for the multitude of services we offer.

Asked on June 4, 2017 under Business Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You would have no recourse against the insurer itself if the broker was not an employee of the insurer (i.e. if she is an independent contractor or has her own business); however, you could sue the broker and/or her business (e.g. if the business is an LLC or corporation) for the money you should have received if you'd had the coverage you had instructed the broker to procure. Her wrongful act forging your signature, as well as her apparent negligence in not obtaining the requested coverage, should make her liable.
If she is a direct employee of the insurer itself, you should be able to hold the insurer liable, under the theory of "respondeat superior" (basically, "let the employer answer") which makes employers liable for the wrongful acts of their employees committed in the course of or for employment. You should also still name the broker personally as well: the more people you name in a lawsuit, the greater the odds of winning compensation from someone.
You would seek to prove in a lawsuit that you had specifically requested certain coverage, which the broker said you were getting but you did not; and also the forging of the signature.


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