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Insurance Company wins fight to deny insurance claim arising out of vacant building

In 2005, a Genessee County judge issued an order closing the Fisher Hotel, which it deemed a public nuisance.  The owners then purchased coverage on the vacant buildings involved.  In 2007, the buildings were damaged by vandalism, however, the insurer refused to pay the owners' claim, relying on a vandalism exclusion applicable to property that is unoccupied for 60 days or more.  The trial court upheld this exclusion and granted the insurer summary disposition, and the owners appealed.

The Court of Appeals rejected the owners' technical and policy arguments.  The owners argued that the policy language was ambiguous and that the seventh policy issued by the insurers on the property did not adequately describe the exclusion for vandalism.  The Court disagreed.  The owners also argued that the property was not actually vacant for 60 days under the seventh policy and that, in any event, since the property was being renovated, it was not really "vacant."  The Court disagreed on all counts and upheld the summary disposition.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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