Insurance brokers in court

The Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA) and National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) collaborated to present an exciting session of ‘Brokers in Court’, a law moot which demonstrated how a negligence claim brought in court against an insurance broker unfolds.

Noel Kelly of Austbrokers AEI says his key takeaway from the session was the understanding how much small businesses rely on a brokers’ professional advice when purchasing insurance products, “I believe we need to ensure that we do not get complacent in our professional capacity when conducting regular insurance reviews and highlight key exposures for our clients.”

The moot provided young insurance professionals with an opportunity to observe the court process and procedure in a typical broker negligence claim. The mock trial was presided over by Justice Rowan Darke of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Geoffrey Watson SC and Richard Cheney SC appeared for the hypothetical parties, and were assisted by Hilbert Chiu and James Lee of counsel.

Kelly says it is essential that professionals know more about the legalities surrounding the advice they give, “The responsibility of giving advice is taken very seriously by the legal system and it should be noted by YPs who plan to make a career in insurance broking. It was highlighted throughout the moot trial that documentation and note-taking are critical in the event you are ever called into a witness box to protect yourself or your business from a negligence claim.

Whilst brokers often have the best intentions, knowing what questions to ask and where you should provide clear advice places a real important on education and training for our younger professionals. It is important that brokers know potential exposures to clients and if they don’t, to find out the relevant information and confirm in writing to their clients.”

He believes that more co-branded events such as this one would benefit the industry as a whole, “This event was a great example of both AILA and NIBA utilising shared resources and contacts to provide a fantastic educational session that benefited all involved. The NIBA NSW Young Professional Committee will be partnering again with AILA in 2019 to hold another Moot Trial and we could encourage all brokers, not only young professionals, to attend and understand the legal ramifications and process of what a negligence claim looks like in a court of law.”