Summary Judgment for Insurer Was Proper as it Had Cancelled Policy Several Months Prior to the Accident for Non-Payment of Premiums
In March, 2005, State Farm issued two insurance policies for two automobiles owned by Debra Smith. Smith arranged to have premiums paid by automatic monthly withdrawl from her checking account. She made the initial premium payment, but when the next payment was due the following month, the bank notified State Farm there were insufficient funds. State Farm generated a cancellation notice mailed to Smith advising that her policies were cancelled as of April 29, 2005. Five months later, Smith was involved in an accident. State Farm refused to defend, and a $900,000 judgment was entered against Smith. Smith then assigned her rights under the policy to the plaintiff in the underlying case who filed suit against State Farm to collect the judgment. It was claimed State Farm should be estopped from denying liability for failing to maintain proof of mailing of the cancellation notice. The trial judge disagreed and en- tered summary judgment for State Farm.
The First District affirmed. The proof of mailing form used by State Farm was acceptable to the United States Post Office, and therefore, the cancellation notice was effective. Consequently, estoppel did not apply as State Farm had no duty to defend the underlying case as there was no policy in existence at the time of the accident. Hunt v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 2013 IL App (1st) 120561 (6/28/13).