WireCo WorldGroup, Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co., No. 17-1432 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of an action against WireCo's workers' compensation insurance carriers, Liberty, seeking damages for excess premiums that WireCo allegedly paid on three of Liberty's insurance policies. The court held that the plain language and established purpose of the Missouri vexatious refusal to pay statute indicated that it applied to claims filed under a policy that related to a covered loss and that a breach of a contract of overcharging or of failure to refund premium was not a loss contemplated by the statute. Therefore, a loss under the statute did not include excess premium payments.
The court also held that only the theories of breach of contract were before the district court at summary judgment; even assuming the rating plans were incorporated into the policies, and that Liberty breached the contracts, WireCo must present evidence that Liberty's alleged breaches caused WireCo to suffer damages; and Liberty was entitled to summary judgment on WireCo's breach of contract claims because WireCo failed to present evidence that it would have paid lower premiums if Liberty had complied with the notice and documentation requirements of the Missouri and Texas schedule rating plans.