Monday, January 23, 2006

consumer - insurance - duty of insured to cooperate in investigation of claim

Murphy v. Federal Insurance Company - ED Pa. - January 18, 2006

Defendant's motion for summary judgment granted. Plaintiff breached his contract when he unreasonably refused to cooperate in the insurer's investigation of his claim, to the prejudice of the insurer.

Interpretation of an insurance contract is a question of law. Where a policy is ambiguous, it should be construed against the insurer. If the terms are clear and not ambiguous, the court must give effect to the plain language. Here there was a clear contractual duty of the insured to cooperate in the investigation. His refusal to do so had a prejudicial effect on the insurer.

Donald Marritz
MidPenn Legal Services