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Homeowner's Policy - Coverage of Other Structures - Negligent Procurement of Insurance

Crook v. Allstate Indemnity Co., et al., [Ms. 1180996, June 26, 2020] __ So. 3d __ (Ala. 2020). The Court (Mendheim, J.; Parker, C.J., and Bolin, Wise, Bryan, Sellers, and Mitchell, JJ., concur; Shaw and Stewart, JJ., concur in the result) affirms the Tuscaloosa Circuit Court’s judgment granting summary judgment to Allstate and its agent in an insurance coverage dispute involving damage to homeowner Crook’s deck and boat dock. Crook argues Coverage A, rather than Coverage B, “Other Structures,” applies to cover the damage to the deck and the boat dock. The defendants argue that the damage is covered by Coverage B, which applies to “[s]tructures ... separated from your dwelling by clear space.” The defendants argue that the deck and the boat dock are separated from the dwelling by “clear space,” so as to qualify only for Coverage B. Ms. *12.

The Court holds that the damage to the deck and boat dock is covered only under coverage B, explaining that the various jurisdictions that have considered the issue before us have determined that Coverage B applies to cover damage to an “other structure” when there is “clear space” between the dwelling and the other structure, even if the dwelling and the damaged other structure are connected by a structure such as a deck.” Ms. **18-19.

The Court also affirms as to the negligent procurement of insurance claim and holds that

… it is undisputed that Crook did not read the policy or the numerous policy-renewal notices sent to him from 2006 to 2015 that explicitly set forth the policy limits and explicitly requested that he read them. Had he done so, Crook would have discovered that the policy limit for Coverage B was only $11,455 and could have, had he desired, requested additional coverage. Crook failed to do so and, thus, “‘“put [himself] in danger’s way”’ and had a “‘conscious appreciation of the danger’” of suffering a monetary loss.” Kanellis [v. Pacific Indemnity Co.], 917 So. 2d [149,] 155 [(Ala. Civ. App. 2005)]. Crook was contributorily negligent as a matter of law.

Ms. **30-31.

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