Insurance broker fraud unfortunately happens.  Insurance broker fraud can occur when a broker sells you a product different that what you were promised.  Insurance broker fraud also occurs when the individual or brokerage is not licensed to sell the particular type of insurance.  Similar to our post on Contractors, this post suggest some steps to protect yourself from insurance broker fraud.

“With friends like these”.  We recently handled an insurance broker fraud case where the clients had “friends” who represented themselves as legitimate insurance brokers for a large, national company.  Persuaded by these “friends,” the clients cashed out existing investments and bought the new policies – relying on representations that these would be suitable and our clients would pay a one-time premium.  Yet, a year after paying the initial premium (a six-figure sum), our clients received invoices from the insurance carrier demanding additional, costly annual payments that had never been disclosed.  These brokers got the commissions, and our clients were stuck in unsuitable policies that they could not afford.  If our clients did not continue to pay, they would lose all their money previously paid.  When they asked their “friends” for help, the “friends” said that our clients could cancel the policies, again resulting in a total capital loss. That’s when we got the call.

Always Check Credentials and Licenses.  During our investigation we discovered, of the broker and sales reps involved, two were not even licensed to sell life insurance from the carrier during the time period when the policies were marketed and sold, while the third was not licensed at all!   Similar to real estate brokers and licensees, the State of California provides a website where you can check an insurance broker’s or salesperson’s license status here.

About Adishian Law Group, P.C.

Adishian Law Group (http://www.AdishianLaw.com) is a California law firm with a statewide practice in the areas of Corporate law, Employment law, Real Estate law and Mediation Services. As of November 2015, the firm has represented corporate and individual clients located across 22 California counties, 13 States outside of California and 9 foreign countries in over 480 legal matters. Adishianlaw.com is one of the oldest continually operating law firm websites on the Internet. The firm serves its clientele via three offices located in the major business hubs of El Segundo, Palo Alto and San Francisco.

For more information about this article, contact Chris Adishian:

Telephone: 310.726.0888 | 650.646.4022 | 415.955.0888
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California Attorney and Real Estate Broker Chris Adishian answers the question, “When buying a commercial property, who should be on my team?” at the South Bay Association of Realtors Commercial Attorney Panel on June 2, 2015.

Transcript

When you go into a transaction, like buying a commercial property, you want to make sure you have your team together.  You might say “that’s great, who should be on my team?”  Well, the people you want are a really good brokerage firm and/or an agent if the broker is not a selling broker actively out there in the marketplace.

You want an excellent insurance person:  there are a lot of insurance issues and a lot of different ways that run through managing and owning a commercial property.

The third person you want is an attorney – stuff will come up.  The fourth person you probably want is perhaps a property manager.

There are a lot of different roles.  Sometimes they can all overlap, sometimes they’re distinct, and there are reasons why you may want them to overlap and reasons why you may want them to be distinct.

A property manager, at their core – they run the property sort of like a CFO or a trustee for the owner.  They collect all the rents, pay all the vendors, generate financial statements, and hopefully if the property is running well, they distribute checks to the owners at the end of each month.

The leasing agent handles if there’s a vacancy.  When a property has some spaces that turn over, the agent will be called into market that space and lease it.  In that situation, you’re having those roles separated out.  Often times, property managers may want to lease it, but they’re kind of different skill sets.  We often separate those out.  If there’s a vacancy, we have the leasing agent handle it.  We’ll consult with him or her.  This person knows the market, knows how to market, has the databases – that’s not really the business we’re in.

The third piece is real estate brokerage.  Brokerage is really about buying and selling property, not so much about leasing.  And again, all those things can be blended together in a firm, but brokerage is really focused on you’re ready to sell your building, you’re ready to buy a building – we’ll help you do that.