Ethics Counsel

Ethics Opinion No. 48

Adopted January 27, 1933

The Board is in receipt of the following request:

“Will you kindly give me an opinion on the following matter?

I am a stockholder and attorney for a fire insurance company which writes fire insurance within the State of Oklahoma. At the same time, I represent relatives and members of my family who carry insurance, approximately in the sum of half million dollars on real estate located within the State of Oklahoma. A great deal of this insurance is being written in foreign companies, and the company I represent, has suggested that I be appointed as Special Agent for this company, so that I could write and place in the company, a fair portion of this insurance.

What I desire to know, if there is any rule prohibiting an attorney from writing insurance. I might state, that after careful consideration, I cannot see where at any time, the relation of the insured and the company would be antagonistic.

I might further add that at no time would there be any division of commissions with any person. It would simply be a matter of my receiving the insurance commission, which, at the time, is paid by close members of the family, and which goes to outsiders.”

In response:

The writing of fire insurance by a lawyer while in the active practice, is not, in the opinion of the Board, condemned by any accepted standard in this country, provided that it is done with due observance of the standard of conduct required of him as a member of the bar; and provided that he not use the business of writing insurance as a means of obtaining law business, nor the fact that he is a member of the bar to obtain insurance business.