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Volume XXVII, No. 22, September 4, 2015        

From the Law Offices of Garan Lucow Miller, P.C.

From the Editor: Sarah Nadeau

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THE COURT OF APPEALS CONFIRMS THAT NOTICE OF NON-RENEWAL ONLY
NEEDS TO BE SENT TO NAMED INSURED TO BE VALID

By Caryn A. Ford

In Johnson v Metropolitan Prop & Cas Ins Co, unpublished per curiam opinion, Nos 321649, 321744 (Mich App Aug 11, 2015), the Court of Appeals determined that the Plaintiff was not entitled to No-Fault coverage under an automobile insurance policy issued to his mother, Eddie Johnson, because the policy expired before Plaintiff’s accident.  In reaching this decision, the Court determined that the notice of non-renewal mailed to the named insured, Eddie Johnson, was valid.

Eddie Johnson maintained no-fault automobile insurance through Metropolitan which provided coverage for herself and her son, Plaintiff Taevin, Johnson, and their two vehicles.  Eddie was designated as the “named insured” and Taevin as “child”.  On August 5, 2012, Metropolitan used first-class mail to send notice of termination to Eddie at the address she had provided to the insurer. The notice provided that the policy would not be renewed because Taevin had accumulated six points for moving violations. The policy expired on September 8, 2012.  On September 22, 2012, Taevin was involved in a serious motor vehicle accident and sought benefits under the policy that had expired.

Eddie claimed that she did not receive the August 5, 2012 notice even though she resided at the address listed on her policy where the notice was sent until the end of August. Eddie, however, was aware that her insurance premium was not deducted from her biweekly pay check on September 9, 2012, but did not contact Metropolitan at that time.

Under the terms of the policy, if the insurer decides not to renew a policy, it “will mail notice to you at the last known address shown on our records” with “at least 20 days” notice. The policy defines “you” as “the person(s) named in the Declarations of this policy as named insured and the spouse of such person or persons if a resident of the same household.” Eddie was the only person designated as the “named insured”.  The Court of Appeals found that Metropolitan complied with the policy requirements for non-renewal when it mailed such notice to only Eddie.

The Court relied on Auto Club Ins Ass’n v Hawkins, 435 Mich 328; 458 NW2d 628 (1990) to support its decision that notice to Eddie of non-renewal was sufficient to place Taevin on notice.  In Hawkins, the Court, in interpreting a statute that required notice of policy cancellation to “the insured”, held that: “where notice of cancellation is properly provided to the “principal named insured” or (if the policy terminology is different) to the insured in whose name the policy was issued, that is sufficient notice to any other insured person who is a family member and who lives in the same household.  Id. at 337.  Accordingly, Metropolitan was not required to provide notice of non-renewal to Taevin since he was not a named insured on the policy.

Finally, the Court rejected Taevin’s argument that since he was the registered owner of the covered vehicle, Metropolitan had a duty to change the policy declarations to list him as the named insured.   The Court found that since neither Eddie nor Taevin requested that Taevin be designated as a “named insured”, he was not entitled to such redesignation.  As such, the trial court properly granted summary disposition in favor of Metropolitan.[1]


[1]Defendant, Metropolitan Property & Casualty Insurance Company, was represented by Garan Lucow Miller attorneys Frederick Plumb in the Circuit Court, and Caryn Ford in the Court of Appeals.

 

REGISTER NOW – LIMITED SPACE STILL AVAILABLE

 BASICS OF MICHIGAN AUTOMOBILE NO-FAULT INSURANCE LAW COURSE

Garan Lucow Miller, P.C. is pleased to once again offer this in-depth, educational course in the Fall of 2015.  It will be taught each Tuesday evening, beginning September 29, 2015, and running through November 24, 2015, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. In an effort to facilitate our clients in the Detroit Metro area, the course will be held at the Courtyard Marriott, located at 42700 W. 11 Mile Rd., Novi, MI 48375. The cost of the 9 week course is $350.00 per person, with a discount of $50.00 per person for more than 2 registrants from the same company.

Contact Eileen Carty to register:  ecarty@garanlucow.com or (800) 875-7600.

Click here for the course curriculum.

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INDY CITY SEMINAR

The Indy City Seminar will take place on Thursday, September 24, 2015, at The Indianapolis Marriott Downtown.  Please note, this is a complimentary seminar for our clients.

Contact Eileen Carty to register:  ecarty@garanlucow.com or (800) 875-7600.

Click here for the seminar agenda.