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Laforest v Transamerica Insurance Group; (COA-UNP, 8/25/1992; RB #1563)

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Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 134055; Unpublished  
Judges Neff, Gribbs, and Shepherd; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation:  Not Applicable; Link to Opinion alt  


STATUTORY INDEXING:  
Not Applicable

TOPICAL INDEXING: 
Cancellation of Auto Liability Policies (MCL 500.3204, et seq.)  


CASE SUMMARY:  
In this unanimous per curiam unpublished Opinion, the Court of Appeals affirmed a jury verdict determining that plaintiff had received a notice of cancellation of his no-fault insurance policy and therefore was precluded from receiving no-fault benefits. 

The Court of Appeals interpreted the requirements of the cancellation provisions of MCLA 500.3020 in this case, and concluded that the trial court properly allowed the jury to determine the issue of whether or not the insured had received actual notice of the cancellation of his insurance policy.  

Plaintiff had acquired a no-fault policy from Transamerica in October, 1988. On December 6,1988, Transamerica mailed a notice to plaintiff advising him that his next premium was due on orbefore December 26,1988. Plaintiff railed to make that payment On January 7,1989, Transamerica sent a notice advising that the policy would be cancelled on January 17,1989, unless payment was received before that date. The notice was sent by certified mail to plaintiff’s home address. It was undisputed that the notice was received at plaintiff’s address and that plaintiff’s mother signed for the letter. Plaintiff contended, however, that he never saw the letter. Plaintiff was involved in an accident on January 22,1989, resulting in severe injuries, including paraplegia. The trial court denied motions for summary disposition on the issue of whether plaintiff had received "actual notice" as required by the cancellation statute, MCLA 500.3020. The case was tried to a jury, and the jury concluded that the plaintiff had received the registered letter. 

The Court of Appeals held that MCLA 500.3020 governs the procedure for cancellation of a no-fault insurance policy. The statute provides that an insurer may cancel a policy by mailing to the insured at the insured's last known address a not less than 10 days written notice of cancellation. The Court of Appeals has held in Citizens Insurance Company of America v Crenshaw, 160 Mich App 34 (1987) that a policy is canceled only if the insured receives actual notice at least 10 days before the effective date of cancellation. The statute further provides that mailing of notice shall be prima facie proof of notice. 

In Phillips v DAIIE, 69 Mich App 512 (1976), the Court of Appeals held that actual receipt of the notice was required by the insured to cancel a policy of insurance under §3020. The court held that the issue was properly submitted to the jury in this case, because evidence was presented that plaintiff’s mother received and signed for the letter containing the notice, and then, as was her usual habit, put it on the kitchen table with the other mail that she received that day. She testified further that her son normally would sift through the stack and pick out his own mail. The court held that this created an issue of fact from which the jury was entitled to conclude that the plaintiff had received actual notice of cancellation.  


Lansing car accident lawyer Stephen Sinas is the lead editor of the appellate case summaries published on this site regarding the Michigan auto insurance law. To learn more about how Stephen Sinas and how the Sinas Dramis Law Firm can help you if you have been injured in a Michigan auto accident, visit SinasDramis.com.

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