NJ Insurance Rescinded For Misrepresented “Spouses”

New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Company was granted dismissal of an uninsured motorist claim when its rescission of a policy was enforced. The insured driver had misrepresented in her insurance application that she was married when, in fact, she was living with her fiancé.

The insurer presented evidence that it would not have issued the policy had it known that the two were not wed. Instead, she would have been referred to a subsidiary company and quoted a significantly higher premium. Thus, the misrepresentation was material to the decision to write the policy. The insured persuaded the trial judge that her misstatement was not a willful concealment to induce the insurer to issue the policy.

However, in an unreported decision, the Appellate Division made clear that a misrepresentation of an objective truth that is material to the underwriting process will support rescission if the insurer relied upon it regardless of the insured’s motive for the misrepresentation.

See Henriques v. New Jersey Manufacturers Insurance Co., 2009 WL 5125021 found at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/opinions/a2755-08.pdf

If you would like more information regarding this post, please email Denise Ricci at dricci@wcmlaw.com.