Francoeur and Young Obtain Dismissal of Claim against Insurance Broker
Wednesday, July 12, 2023
Insurance on the keys

Joseph Francoeur (Partner-New York, NY) and Melissa Young (Associate-New York, NY) achieved dismissal of all claims asserted against their client, an insurance broker agency, upon submission of a pre-answer cross-motion to dismiss based on documentary evidence. In the underlying slip-and-fall case, the plaintiff was named as a third-party defendant for allegedly failing to remove snow and ice from a walkway, and submitted the claim to its carrier, which denied coverage because the policy did not cover the plaintiff’s snow and ice removal business. To establish a claim for negligence or breach of contract against an insurance broker, a plaintiff must show that a specific request was made to the broker for the coverage that was not provided in the policy. Plaintiff’s further argued that it reasonably believed its snow and ice removal operation was covered because our client had issued a Certificate of Insurance. New York courts have held that it is unreasonable to rely on an insurance certificate where such certificate contains disclaimer language that the certificate was “issued as a matter of information only and confers no rights upon the certificate holder.” The court agreed with Melissa and Joe’s arguments that the plaintiff never requested coverage for the snow and ice removal business, as evidenced by the application; that the plaintiff failed to allege a special relationship with the broker; and that the conspicuous disclaimer at the top of the insurance certificate negated any reasonable reliance by the plaintiff on the contents of such certificate with respect to coverage.


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