Williams v. New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association, New York Co. Index No. 151083/2014 (NY Sup. Ct. New York Co. 2019)

This case involved the failure of the insured to allow an inspection of his premises. The insured requested an increase in coverage and his insurer, New York Property Insurance Underwriting Association, directed that its independent inspection company inspect the premises for insurability. The insured operated an automobile repair business in Nassau County. Attempts to reach the insured were unsuccessful. NYPIUA wrote the insured reminding him of his obligation to arrange an inspection and warned him of the possibility of cancellation. Contact was then made with NYPIUA and a new inspection was ordered, but the insured again failed to arrange an inspection. NYPIUA then mailed a cancellation notice effective more than a month later at 12:01 A.M. on a date certain. The insured suffered a total loss twelve hours later as the result of an accidental fire caused by an employee undertaking an automobile repair. After examinations before trial of the insured and a representative of NYPIUA, NYPIUA moved for summary judgment, submitting to the court the deposition transcripts as well as affidavits of employees of the independent inspection company showing their well-documented attempts to arrange the inspection and the failure of the insured to respond. The cancellation practices of NYPIUA were also spelled out in the moving papers. The insured claimed NYPIUA’s procedures were unreasonable in the answering papers. The court found that NYPIUA had acted properly in ordering the inspection, attempting to conduct the inspection, and issuing the cancellation notice. The court went on to find: “Plaintiff has failed to show in its opposition that he did not receive the cancellation notice or that the cancellation letter was received in an untimely manner.” Finding no issue of fact to be tried, the court granted summary judgment to NYPIUA.

NYPIUA was represented by partner Costantino P. Suriano and senior attorney Jon Quint.