Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Misrepresentations of Material Facts in Reporting Loss Voids Policy

Interesting unpublished opinion from the court of appeals in Little v. Kentucky Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., which dealt with the loss of items, resulting from a burglary of a mobile home. The Little's claimed losses after a burglary. The losses claimed were disputed by Farm Bureau. Evidence was presented at trial that suggested the list of items was more than initially reported, contained items previously seen by police at the scene, and was excessive for the geographical area. A jury found that while the loss had occurred, the plaintiffs' had violated one or more of the provisions relating to fraud or concealment in reporting the claim to Farm Bureau. The Plaintiffs moved for a JNOV, to set aside the verdict, and for a new trial, which were all denied.

On appeal the Plaintiffs argued there was a complete absence of evidence that they acted fraudulently or dishonestly. The court of appeals disagreed citing evidence in the record that supported the juries' verdict. The trial court's rulings were affirmed.

Opinion is interesting mainly because it reiterates that fraud or concealment in the reporting a claim voids the policy in its entirety. Even though the jury found the loss did occur, there was no coverage under the policy for any of the claimed losses, due to the material misrepresentation.

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