A Pennsylvania court has ruled that an insurance broker does not have a duty to inspect a property in order to offer flood insurance (see here and here), and has used a distinction between an insurance agent and an insurance broker that reflects the reality of business practices rather than theory.
The opinion (see here) defined the difference between an insurance broker and an insurance agent:
[An ‘insurance broker’ is] one who acts as a middleman between the insured and the insurer, soliciting insurance from the public under no employment from any special company, and upon securing an order, placing it with a company selected by the insured or with a company selected by himself or herself; whereas an ‘insurance agent’ is one who represents an insurer under an employment by it. A broker is, in essence, employed in each instance as a special agent for a single purpose, while the very definition of an agent indicates an ongoing and continuous relationship. Since many insureds deal with the same broker for long periods of time, it is, in most cases, the continuity of the agency relationship that differs from the broker relationship; brokers and insureds are ordinarily involved in what can be viewed as a series of discrete transactions, while agents and insurers tend to be under some duty to each other during the entire length of the relationship.
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