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An agent of record (AOR) is the person or company an insurance policyholder designates to represent him or her in terms of insurance coverage. This individual enters into a contract with an insurance agent that gives him or her permission to act on the policyholder's behalf. The transaction usually occurs in the context of the agent selling an insurance policy to the person. The agent of record has the legal authority to act for the policyholder, and it is routine for insurance companies to communicate only with this individual.
Typical powers that an agent of record might have include buying and maintaining insurance coverage for the policyholder. An AOR also is responsible for dealing with any problems or questions about the policy. Perhaps most importantly from the agent's standpoint, this individual has the right to collect commissions from the sale and management of the insurance policy to the policyholder.
In essence, the contract between the policyholder and the agent of record gives the insurance company authorization to release information about the policyholder's insurance policies to the AOR. If a policyholder wishes to change his or her agent, he or she must sign a document that names a new one. Once the policyholder signs that document, the new agent will have the legal authority to act on the policyholder’s behalf with respect to any insurance policies. The new contract gives the individual permission to access all information about the person's insurance policies and to manage the policies from that point forward. This contract also automatically revokes the prior individual’s legal powers to act on behalf of the insured.
The powers of an agent of record to act on a policyholder’s behalf may differ according to a particular location’s insurance laws. Therefore, he or she may be able to take certain actions for a policyholder in one place that an agent cannot take in another. In addition, the requirements that must be met for an insurance policyholder to change his or her agent also depend on regional laws. Many places have standardized forms that policyholders must use to change their agents of record; these are often referred to as agent of record letters. Whether the law requires the use of a certain form, again, will differ from one location to another.
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