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Lewis v Farmers Insurance Group; (COA-PUB, 9/8/1986; RB #952)


Michigan Court of Appeals; Docket No. 84811; Published  
Judges Sullivan, Allen, and Kallman; Unanimous; Per Curiam  
Official Michigan Reporter Citation: 154 Mich App 324; Link to Opinion alt    

Disqualification for Uninsured Owners or Registrants of Involved Motor Vehicles or Motorcycles [§3113(b)]  
Persons Disqualified from Receiving Benefits Through the Assigned Claims Facility [§3173]

Not Applicable    

In this unanimous Opinion by Judge Kallman, the Court reversed a circuit court denial of defendant Farmers Insurance Group's motion for summary judgment on the question of coverage. Farmers Insurance had been assigned to provide coverage to Lewis under §3172 of the No-Fault Act. It denied coverage because it claimed that Lewis was the owner of a motor vehicle for which no security was in effect as required by the Act (§3113).

Lewis had purchased a policy of no-fault insurance from Northland Insurance on April 25, 1981 by making payment of $50 toward his $325 annual premium. He was issued a binder of insurance which designated Northland Insurance Company as the insurer, but which also indicated that it expired 30 days after the effective date of insurance, or on October 25,1981, whichever came first. Lewis was told that he would receive a monthly payment book within 30 days. After not receiving his payment book, Lewis went to the office of the insurance agent, and found the proprietors had abandoned the office. Lewis made no further attempts to contact his purported insurer or to pay the remaining premium. On July 2, 1981, Lewis was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident. His claim for benefits from Northland Insurance Company was denied because the purported agent from whom Lewis purchased was not an authorized agent. Apparently, the unknown agent had been part of a large scale fraud.

The Court of Appeals noted that §3113 of the Act excludes from the no-fault benefits scheme persons whose uninsured vehicles are involved in accidents. If a person is excluded from benefits under §3113 of the Act, he is also precluded from assigned claim benefits as well.

In response to Lewis' claim that his situation merited a "good faith" exception to §3113, the Court held that the statute does not provide such exceptions, and none can be judicially imposed. In addition, the Court questioned whether the facts supported a "good faith" exception, in that Lewis made no further efforts to obtain his actual insurance policy, even when he did not receive his payment booklet as promised. Based upon the reasons stated, the circuit court was found in error in denying defendant's motion for summary judgment, and the circuit court decision was reversed.

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