Supreme Court, 3 December 2014: is the general agent generally liable for the actions of its employees?
Three policies were issued by the employee of a general agent. A loss occurred, and the insured who held these three policies contacted the general agent, who paid the indemnity. At the same time, the insured made the same request to the insurer, which also compensated it, unaware of the payment made by the general agent. Realizing shortly thereafter that the loss had been compensated twice, the insurer focused its attention on the agency and discovered that the employee had falsified the three policies in question.
The insurer, arguing that the agent was liable for the actions of its employee, sued and claimed reimbursement of the compensation improperly paid.
The Supreme Court held that the agent was indeed liable for the civil consequences of this act, but that the insurer was also liable due to the misconduct of its agent. Liability for the debt was therefore equally apportioned between the insurer and the agent, meaning that the insurer was awarded only 50% of the amount it initially claimed.
In this case, the Spanish judges ruled that an agent cannot be held solely responsible for acts committed by its employee, and liability was equally shared with the insurer. The focus here is on the insurer’s liability and the mandate that binds it to the agent, thereby excluding the agent’s sole liability.