Brownson Norby, PLLC is pleased to announce that Senior Attorney Joe Lulic has obtained summary judgment from the United States District Court in Minneapolis on behalf of a fire insurer in an important arson case. In a case of first impression in Minnesota, Judge Donovan Frank dismissed a claim against the insurer for the destruction of a house from an arson fire. Specifically, the named insured on the homeowner’s fire insurance policy transferred the house using a Transfer on Death Deed to his niece who, after his death was also the executor of his estate. Following that transfer the home was destroyed by fire.
Joe’s client denied coverage since the transferee niece was not the named insured on the policy. Joe argued, and the Court agreed, that, although there was no similar no Minnesota case upon which to rely, it is a rule that a fire insurance policy is personal to the insured person, not the property. Since the insured person was not the owner of the property at the time of the fire, the niece had no insurable interest. However, the estate retained an insurable interest in the personal property that was destroyed in the fire and the insurer promptly paid that portion of the claim.