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Maine.gov > PFR Home > Insurance Regulation > Cancellation Hearing Index > Cancellation / Nonrenewal Docket No. INS 05-2011 Decision
Dana Daggtt & Carol Davis v. New England Guaranty Company
The insured requested a hearing following receipt of a notice of homeowners insurance nonrenewal citing a dog bite as the reason for nonrenewal. At hearing, the company argued that it paid a claim for a dog bite involving the insureds’ dog, and company underwriting guidelines prohibit the insureds’ breed of dog. The company further maintained that it would not be able to defend against future such claims in light of the incident. The insureds disputed that the injury at issue was caused by the dog.
Held: For the company. Although at hearing the company maintained that its underwriting guidelines prohibit the insureds’ breed of dog, dog breed is not indicated in the company’s notice as a reason for nonrenewal. Therefore, any evidence related to the breed of dog will not be considered as grounds for nonrenewal. Although the notice incorrectly cited the date of the incident and the evidence is inconclusive as to whether specifically a “bite” occurred, the notice sufficiently informed the insureds of the reason for nonrenewal to meet the explicitness requirement of § 3051.
The evidence indicates that the injury at issue was likely caused by the dog. Any injury caused by a dog establishes that dog’s propensity to cause future injury as well as its owner’s knowledge of that propensity. Because the stated incident establishes the insureds’ knowledge of an injury caused by the dog, the insureds’ risk of liability in the event of a second incident represents an increase in one of the hazards insured against. Therefore, the company has demonstrated that the cited incident combined with continued ownership of the dog constitutes a good faith reason related to the insurability of the property.
Last Updated: August 22, 2012
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