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Barber v Rose and Allstate Insurance Company; (COA-UNP, 7/22/1997; RB #1947)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 189705; Unpublished  
Judges Gribbs, Holbrook, and Martlew; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt   


STATUTORY INDEXING:   
Not Applicable

TOPICAL INDEXING:   
Insurance Agents (Duty to Insured)  
Silent Fraud  
Uninsured Motorist Benefits     


CASE SUMMARY:  
In this unanimous unpublished per curiam Opinion, the Court of Appeals dealt with the potential liability of an insurance agent for allegedly selling inadequate uninsured motorist coverage. Plaintiffs argued that their insurance agent was guilty of common law fraud or innocent misrepresentation with regard to the availability of uninsured motorist limits higher than $20,000 per person/$40,000 per occurrence. The court reviewed the requirements to establish a cause of action under common law fraud and common law innocent misrepresentation, and concluded that the facts in this case created a genuine issue of material fact that made summary disposition in favor of defendant inappropriate. Therefore, the trial court was reversed and the matter was remanded for jury determination as to these claims.  

The Court of Appeals, however, affirmed the trial court's ruling that dismissed plaintiffs' claim of "silent fraud " which was premised upon the argument that $20,000/$40,000 of uninsured motorist coverage are the "inadequate per se to cover any claim serious enough to trigger the residual liability provisions of the no-fault act [§3135]." The court stated that because the Michigan Insurance Code authorizes automobile insurers to sell policies with residual liability coverage limited to $20,000 per person/$40,000 per occurrence, “defendant Allstate and its agents had no duty to advise insureds that uninsured motorist coverage limits of $20,000/$40,000 are inadequate per se. Accordingly, the trial court properly dismissed plaintiffs' silent fraud claim."  


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