Beware: The Crazy Things People Do with Certificates of Insurance

Man crossing fingers behind back image

I recently got a call from a member agent in the Dayton area concerning certificates of insurance. In my 11 years with OIA, I have received many calls about certificates. But never one like this…

Not Your Everyday Call

The agency was contacted by a consumer in Wapakoneta who received a certificate of insurance from a business soliciting work in the area. The consumer was trying to reach the agency to get their insurance questions answered.

It turns out the wrong agency phone number was listed on the cert, so the consumer did some digging and found the right number (yes, they really put some effort into this!). After finding the right number, the consumer was confident he was going to get his questions answered.

The only problem? The agency did not issue the cert and had never worked with this particular business. In addition, they were never even appointed with the carrier listed on the cert.

Fortunately, the consumer sent a copy of the cert to the insurance agency and also provided information on the business that was the culprit.

Upon hearing all of this, I immediately called the head of the Fraud and Enforcement unit at ODI and advised our member to work with her on the matter to open an investigation.

Protect Your Agency

Did you know: Approximately 1 in 25 errors and omissions (E&O) claims involve a certificate of insurance?

According to, 21 percent of these cases involve situations where the cert holder misrepresented coverage or claimed to have coverage that does not exist.

As these stats highlight, IAs need to protect their agency because certificates of insurance can result in liability lawsuits.

Approximately 1 in 25 errors and omissions (E&O) claims involve a certificate of insurance

For a refresher on the certificates of insurance law (which OIA spearheaded) that took effect last year, visit our Certificates of Insurance resource page.

Big “I” Virtual University has an array of information about certs and topics such as additional insureds, whether or not to send copies of certs to your carrier, primary and noncontributory language, and much more. OIA members have access to this free resource through their OIA membership. Learn more.

While I am hopeful the above situation was a rarity (fingers crossed!), don’t ever hesitate to reach out to OIA with questions. We are here to help you and your agency!

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