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Maine.gov > PFR Home > Insurance Regulation > Cancellation Hearing Index > Cancellation / Nonrenewal : Docket No. INS-07-2079 Decision
Melissa Hartwell v. Vermont Mutual Insurance Company
The insured requested a hearing following receipt of a notice of homeowners insurance cancellation citing a dog with a bite history and the dog’s breed as the reasons for cancellation. At hearing, the company maintained that the insured’s dog presents a liability exposure increase because of an incident. The insured described the circumstances of the incident and stated that the dog had not shown any prior erratic behavior. She also maintained that her policy was set for cancellation because the company recently ended its relationship with her agent.
Held: For the insured. Title 24-A M.R.S.A. § 3049(9) permits an insurer to cancel a policy for a loss occasioned by a dog bite unless, after notice of cancellation or nonrenewal is received, the insured removes the dog.
Section 3049 provides that cancellation grounds are not applicable to “any policy or coverage that has been in effect less than 90 days at the time notice of cancellation is received by the named insured.” The named insured also does not have the right to a hearing before the Insurance Superintendent to contest cancellation of policy that has been in force less than 90 days. 24-A M.R.S.A. § 3049. The company appears to be considering renewal of this policy as a new policy due to the change in agency. However, as the company issued a policy continuing its previous policy for the insured, this policy is not new business to the company. In order to cancel this policy, the company must prove that grounds under § 3049 exist. Also, as required by § 3050, the company’s notice must inform the insured of the right to request, within 30 days of receipt of the notice, a hearing before the Superintendent of Insurance.
None of the grounds under § 3049 permit cancellation for a dog’s breed. Section 3049(9) allows cancellation for a loss occasioned by a dog bite, but in this case, although the insured agrees that her dog bit someone, no claim was made as a result. Therefore, no loss triggering grounds for cancellation occurred. In addition, the cancellation notice did not notify the insured of her right to request a hearing. Accordingly, the company has not met the requirements to cancel this policy.
Last Updated: August 22, 2012
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