Summary judgment on behalf of an insurance agent and broker in the Franklin County Ohio Court of Common Pleas.
The plaintiff, who owned his own restaurant business, sustained personal injuries in a car accident while on a business errand. He collected the tortfeasor’s liability limits of $100,000 and then filed underinsured motorist claims with his own insurance carrier that had issued the personal auto and commercial auto policies. The underinsured claims were denied by the carrier. There was no UIM coverage under the personal auto policy because the $100,000 UIM limits equaled the liability carrier’s limits. Further, although the plaintiff had $1 million in UIM limits on his commercial policy, the Mazda he was driving at the time of the accident was not listed on the commercial policy; rather, it was listed on the personal auto policy.
The plaintiff then sued the insurance agent and broker who listed the Mazda on the personal rather than commercial policy. He argued professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and negligent misrepresentation. Extensive discovery was conducted, including depositions of insurance standard of care experts for each side. The court granted Ray’s motion for summary judgment on several bases: the statute of limitations began to run when the Mazda was first put on the personal auto policy, not when the motor vehicle accident occurred; despite the plaintiff’s and the agent’s friendship and long-standing business dealings, there was not a fiduciary relationship between the agent and insured customer; and the agent’s alleged statement to the plaintiff that he was covered in “every single possible way you can think of” did not amount to a misrepresentation of fact.