A certificate of insurance is a document which evidences proof of insurance to its holder. It conveys an indication of insurance coverage including special designations such as additional insured status to its holder, as well as endorsements which may or may not extend and/or limit coverage. It is a legal document used to consummate contracts such as leases or loans, and may be utilized to imply coverage with regard to municipalities and other public entities to facilitate the issuance of permits for construction or other public events. The question is, how does a consumer know that the certificate is authentic?
One day, in walked a man with a document in his hand and he was looking for “you know who.” He said he was from the Division of Insurance Fraud Investigations and he needed to verify if a certificate had been issued by our agency. Upon a scan of our database and an examination of the form looking for tell-tale diagnostic signs as to whether or not it had come from our system, it was determined that the form was not produced by us. A sworn statement was requested and given to the investigator as a result of this due diligent process for use in the continuation of the investigation surrounding the potential fraud. Since insurance is woven into the fabric of our society and is mandated by law as well as in the support of business relationships, this kind of crime tears at the fabric of the public good. When fraud is discovered it should be reported to the proper authorities as these acts cost us all money, time and aggravation.
It is up to the consumer to mitigate this kind of skullduggery.
Prudence dictates that when requesting a certificate of insurance from a third party, that the document should be forwarded directly from the issuing agent to the certificate holder in order to prevent or limit the potential for chicanery. The document should be examined and understood by the holder, and if any questions should arise either the issuing authorized agent should be contacted and questioned or your own agent may be used as a resource to limit the possibility of shenanigans.
At Rolfs Insurance Services we provide our clients with advice and consultation when it comes to these matters. Feel free to talk to us if questions should arise when faced with these kinds of issues. Think of us as in your inner circle of advisors for knowledge and consultation with regard to these kinds of questions.