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Trial lawyers specializing in personal injury and civil litigation

Dead woman's family cannot collect insurance because Titan post-dated policy and not responsible for acts of Agency.

When Charlotte Morse's insurer, Auto-Owners, refused to renew her auto policy, as of November 24, she went to the Adrian Insurance Agency on November 19 to buy insurance on a substitute vehicle she needed to drive while her vehicle was being repaired.  The substitute, 1996 vehicle had not previously been in use or insured. She paid the appropriate premium.  The Adrian agency insured the substitute with an effective date of November 25, joining it with a replacement policy for all of the Morse family vehicles.

Between the 19th and the 25th, Morse was rear-ended by another vehicle and rendered a quadriplegiac.  When she sought No Fault medical benefits, however, Titan cited the November 25 initiation date on the Adrian Agency form and denied any benefits.  Morse sued seeking reformation of the Titan contract, and her famly continued the suit after she died.

The case went to trial and after hearing the evidence, the jury concluded that the policy should have been effective on November 19. Titan appealed.  The Court of Appeals over-turned the jury's decision.  It held that Titan was within its rights to start the policy on the date indicated by the insurance Agency, and that the agency was Morse's agent, and not Titan's agent, even though it was licensed "to solicit business for Titan," it's power to write insurance binders for Titan, and the fact that it collected Morse's premiums for Titan.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262