In a recent Supreme Court Decision in Bazzi v. Sentinel Insurance ____ Mich. ____ (Decided July 18, 2018) found here: The court found that not every policy is automatically void when there is fraud in the procurement.
The question addressed in this case is how an innocent third party beneficiary to a contract can be affected by another's fraud in the procurement of an insurance policy. In Bazzi, the Plaintiff Alli Bazzi was driving a vehicle leased by his mother and, according to the trial court, the policy was procured through fraud. The question then because whether Sentinel Insurance Company still had to pay Alli Bazzi's PIP benefits. The supreme court held as follows:
First, if a policy was obtained fraudulently, the insurance company has "the option" to rescind the policy. That means that the policy is not automatically rescinded, and the insurer must take some action to have the policy voided.
Second, if the policy is voided, it never existed in the first place, and as such it would stand to reason that the insurer, to the extent premiums were received, will need to refund the premiums of the insured unless they have some additional defense.
Third, as rescission is an equitable remedy, the trial court must exercise its own discretion in rescinding the policy between an innocent plaintiff and an insurer, so the facts that are presented to the trial judge in establishing both innocence to the fraud and the harm that will come about as a result of it are now of paramount importance.
In summary, if a policy is voided through fraud in the procurement, there may still be an avenue of recovery for an innocent third party if the equities favor the insured. Therefore, if you or someone you know was denied coverage for injuries in an accident, because of someone else's fraud, this decision now may provide an additional avenue of recovery.
If you have been injured in an Auto Accident, call The Law Offices of Joumana Kayrouz at 248-557-3645 for a free consultation.