Aquino v. United Property & Casualty Co.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the superior court judge's decision granting in part Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment against Insurer, holding that the standard fire insurance policy set by statute imposes several, rather than joint, rights and obligations on the insureds under the circumstances of this case and that Insurer's redrafting of the statutorily defined policy language was in violation of the statute.
Plaintiff owned a home as a tenant in common with Kelly Pastrana, and the two were coinsureds on a homeowners' insurance policy. Pastrana intentionally set fire to the home. Despite Plaintiff's lack of involvement, Insurer denied Plaintiff's claim for coverage, relying on an intentional loss exclusion in the policy barring recovery when any coinsured intentionally causes a loss. The superior court concluded that the intentional loss exclusion in the policy violated the standard policy language mandated under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 175, 99, Twelfth, and allowed Plaintiff to recover only one-half of the coverage limit. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the policy not comply with the statute; and (2) the policy proceeds in this case were severable, and Plaintiff was entitled to only one-half of the proceeds.