Agency Agreement Review Service
Looking for guidance on agency agreements?
PIA offers a free agency agreement review service for PIA members.
To use PIA's agency agreement review services, first read the material in the Program Detail portion of this web page so you understand PIA's process. Then complete the online form in the Get Started section.
When Is an Agency Agreement Review Helpful?Agency agreements define the relationship between a carrier and the independent agents who sell that carrier's products to the public. Like all legal documents, agency agreements may contain ambiguous, confusing, or outdated provisions. Coupled with market evolution and the creation of new statutes, regulations, and case law, an agency agreement may unwittingly misstate the legal obligations of the carrier or the agent.
In today's compliance-driven industry, a misunderstanding over legal obligations can mean the difference between a thriving agency and a struggling one. PIA is pleased to offer its agency agreement review service to Partnership carriers and member agents. By working with carriers and agents, PIA strives to improve the legal document governing their relationship as well as the relationship itself.
Adaptability allows an agency agreement to withstand changes in the insurance market due to unforeseen events and the everchanging constellation of federal and state laws, regulations, and litigation trends that may prompt changes in the way carriers and agents fulfill their contractual obligations. An adaptable agreement requires careful planning and review.
Clarity is essential to the successful execution and enforcement of an agreement. Too often, people understandably struggle to take in the dense legal jargon used in contracts and, as a result, sign them without a comprehensive understanding of their legal obligations. PIA works diligently to clarify and simplify agency agreement language. Ensuring that all parties can meet the obligations imposed by an agreement requires unambiguous contract language.
Finally, fairness is essential to an effective agency agreement. Each party to a contract should feel comfortable with the terms of the agreement and that, where appropriate, provisions are equally applied to both sides. By walking agents through the agreement’s provisions and pointing out terms that could be strengthened, PIA's review service provides agents with an opportunity to request changes that could make their agreements more equitable.
PIA member agents may participate in the agency agreement review service if they have recently received a new agency agreement from a carrier or have questions about an existing agreement. However, because of the volume of agreements are regularly submitted, we ask that members limit their requests to one agency agreement review per year.
Requesting an Agency Agreement Review
To request an agency agreement review, PIA member agents should complete the online form in the Get Started section of this web page.
A staff member will typically respond to the request within 3 business days, at which time the agent may be invited to submit the agreement for review. The time frame needed for review will vary based on the length and complexity of the agreement, the state(s) in which the work described in the agreement will be completed, the time of year of the request, and the number of agreements already in the queue, among other factors.
Depending on the scope of the request, PIA staff will prepare an overview of either the whole agreement or the section(s) on which the member agent has sought feedback and provide it to the agent for their consideration.
Before sending a request for an agency agreement review, the agent must first decide whether they are interested in entering or continuing a business relationship with the carrier. If so, the agent should read the agreement first, noting any questions or comments. At that point, the agent should send their request for review using the process described above.
Upon receipt of a response from PIA, the agent should submit an electronic copy of the agreement via email. The agent should also include with the submission:
- Whether the contract is newly issued;
- If newly issued, whether it has been signed;
- If not signed, the signing deadline;
- The contract's effective date;
- If applicable, the date of any prior version of the agreement executed by the agent;
- Any provisions of particular concern, along with any other questions or comments; and
- The history with the carrier and any other relevant information.
It is important for all parties involved in the process to keep the following facts in mind:
- The agency agreement review does not constitute the provision of legal services or legal advice. No member of the PIA staff is the attorney of any individual insurance agent member. The PIA staff member conducting the review may not be barred in the jurisdiction(s) in which the work described in the agreement will be done.
- The agency agreement review is not a substitute for the advice of legal counsel. The review does not create an attorney-client relationship and may not be protected by attorney-client or any other privilege.
- Agents should not rely or act upon the information provided without seeking advice from their own legal counsel; each agent should consult with an attorney barred in the relevant jurisdiction(s) regarding their specific circumstances and obligations and to ensure compliance with the law of the state(s) in which the agent operates.
- PIA does not provide legal or business advice to its members as to whether they should sign an agency agreement.
- PIA does not post or otherwise disseminate agency agreement reviews.
- The agency agreement review is not intended to and should not be used to take the place of direct discussions between an agent and a carrier.
- PIA does not endorse or denounce agreements in the review process.
Do you have an agreement you'd like PIA to review?
To request an agency agreement review, please complete the online form below.