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Home owner cannot hold insurer responsible for allowing fraudulent "agent" to cancel policy

Robert Gaines purchased a home which he immediately sold to a realtor-friend.  The realtor-friend was authorized to manage the transaction, and she allowed her boyfriend to purchase homeowner's coverage.  Before Gaines could sell the home to his friend, however, the house burned.  When Gaines sought coverage from Michigan Basic, he was informed that "his son" [actually the friend's boyfriend]had cancelled the coverage prior to the sale.  Gaines sued the insurer for negligence in allowing a third-party to cancel coverage, however, his claim was dismissed.  The Court pointed to the fact that Notice of Cancellation had been mailed to the proper address, precluding Gaines from arguing that the insurer should be estopped from cancelling.  The Court also rejected his claim that he should be treated as an "equitable subrogee," noting that the protection provided under that doctrine applies only to a third-party who pays the legal debt of another.

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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