Texas REALTORS® has five E&O risk management partners that share information with the association and provide useful risk-management tools to members. These partners have been monitoring concerns brought about by COVID-19. Here are some issues REALTORS® should consider:
Transmission of Disease
Clients or others may accuse real estate agents of infecting them with COVID-19 or creating conditions that caused them to be infected. Though these assertions may be difficult to prove, an agent may find himself having to defend such an allegation. Typically, a bodily injury claim would be covered by a company’s general liability insurance—not errors and omissions. However, some E&O carriers offer bodily injury endorsements that could cover the claim. An endorsement such as this could require the policy holder to first submit the claim to the general liability carrier and get denied.
Business interruption does not fall within the parameters of E&O policies. Brokers and agents would need to look at their general liability policies or other insurance coverage.
Fair Housing Claims
There may be increased exposure to claims of fair housing violations due to agents choosing not to work with certain clients. Though agents can ask prospects and clients if they have recently traveled to certain areas known as COVID-19 hot spots or whether they have symptoms or a diagnosis of COVID-19, agents should take care to ask screening questions of all individuals to avoid fair housing issues.
Finally, real estate brokers and agents should review their E&O and other types of business insurance policies before facing a lawsuit or adverse event that could be mitigated with the proper coverage.
The Texas REALTORS® risk management E&O partners are Mondics Insurance Group, Preferred Guardian Insurance, Pearl Insurance, CRES Insurance Services, and Great American Insurance Group. Learn more in the Legal & Ethics section of texasrealestate.com.