Does Insurance Broker Who Acted As An Intermediary Considered a Sub-Agent ?

In Passarello v. Lexington Insurance Co., 740 F. Supp. 933, 936 (D. Conn. 1990), Passarello hired Fred S. James & Co. (James) to procure property insurance. Passarello, 740 F. Supp. at 934. In turn, James contacted Alexander Howden N.A., Inc. (AHNA), a wholesale insurance broker, who acted as an intermediary between James and Lexington Insurance Company, the company that ultimately provided insurance to Passarello. Passarello, 740 F. Supp. at 934. When Passarello filed a lawsuit against the carrier and brokers after sustaining certain losses, AHNA moved for summary judgment on the basis that it owed no duty to Passarello because it did not act as Passarello's broker; rather it dealt exclusively with the retailer broker, James. Passarello, 740 F. Supp. at 935. The court found that "having received an order from James to procure insurance for plaintiff, AHNA acted as plaintiff's subagent." Passarello, 740 F. Supp. at 935. Specifically, the court concluded that both brokers, James and AHNA, were agents of Passarello, acting as the middlemen between him and Lexington. Accordingly, the Passarello court found that both owed duties to the plaintiff.