When rejecting a claim for fraud, it is necessary to determine if there are any innocent co-insured, and if so, if the innocent co-insured is entitled to any compensation in your state.
See the full video at https://youtu.be/C2Qbo36IfyA  The issue of a monsoon spouse's burn preventing the innocent coin-insured spouse from recovering under an insurance policy was a first impression in Iowa [Vance v. Pekin Ins. Co., 457 N.W.2d 589 (Iowa, 1990)]. The Supreme Court noted that courts across the United States have developed three distinct theories of recovery to resolve the issue. Several years ago, an author critically examined these theories and the motivation for them. [The Problem of the Innocent Coinsured Spouse: Three Theories of Recovery, 1
It is still the well-balanced law in Iowa that the use of the words "any insured" is an unambiguous phrase that excludes coverage for all insured, including an innocent coin-insured spouse. If "someone insured" sets fire to a house, all insured persons, including the innocent coin-insured spouse, are prohibited from compensation. In Johnson v. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co., 533 N.W.2d 203, 207 (Iowa 1995) the court found that "all insured" led to all insured being covered by the exemption for bodily injury. Iowa Supreme Court of Vance, supra. went so far as to encourage insurance companies to clear their fire insurance policies of ambiguity by replacing the exclusion language "those" insured with "a", "someone" or "an" insured. The insurance companies slowly followed the recommendation while many adopted the proposed language.
These three theories of recovery stemmed from disagreements over whether real estate or contract law should govern the interpretation of the policy. An innocent coin-insured spouse can recover depending on whether the interests of the coin curves according to the policy are common or separable.
In order to resolve this question, some courts have applied the principles of property rights; other courts have applied contractual principles. So it is not surprising that the courts have achieved conflicting results, although the actual scenario in most cases is remarkably similar. Iowa decided to apply the terms of the agreement and ruled against the alleged "innocent spouse."
© 2020 – Barry Zalma
Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to working as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, handling insurance claims, cheating and insurance fraud almost equally for insurance policyholder. He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
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