Back in 2012, the trial court granted our motion for summary disposition based on the fact that the insured did not reside at the location of the fire and lied about where he lived to try and get coverage for the loss. Plaintiff appealed to the Court of Appeals, and after the issue was briefed and argued, they agreed with us and affirmed the dismissal of the case.
Reviewing the trial court’s decision de novo, the court in Collins v Farm Bureau found that the homeowner held the property out for rent; his belongings were stored in a detached garage; and he only stayed there a few times over two years. This was NOT enough to establish residency.
The court also found that the agent was properly dismissed from the case because an insurance agent has no duty to disclose the adequacy of insurance, unless a “special relationship” exists between the agent and the insured. Where a customers specifically requests a homeowners policy and provides documents to convince an agent he lives there, the agent does not have a duty to investigate further.
The court found Farm Bureau and the agent had no reason to believe that plaintiff was residing elsewhere, and plaintiff was not induced into believing that his insurance coverage was adequate based on any representations or omissions on the part of Farm Bureau or the agent.
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