Insurance Issues And Common Law Marriage 2009

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  • 1. INSURANCE ISSUES AND COMMON LAW MARRIAGE Christina L. Dixon Zupkus & Angell, P.C.
    • Insurance considerations when dealing with common law marriage
    • Proving a common law marriage
    • Common obstacles to avoid
  • 2. Brief Insurance Law Overview
    • Duty of good faith and fair dealing
    • Plain language of the policy
    • First-party coverage
      • UM/UIM
    • Third-party coverage
      • Liability
  • 3. GENERAL POLICY PROVISIONS
    • A separate contract cannot be written
    • Risk pool
    • Risk sharing arrangement
    • Entire group makes same arrangement
  • 4. TYPICAL INSURANCE POLICY PROVISIONS
    • Anatomy of an Insurance Policy
      • Declarations page: identifies named insured, property description, limits of coverage
      • Insurance Clause: provides basic agreement – insurance in exchange for payment of premium
      • Definitions: defines various terms
      • Exclusions: limits coverage
      • Conditions: further details regarding nature of relationship
      • Other policy sections: endorsements, state specific provisions, transfer of right of recovery, cooperation clause
  • 5. SPECIFIC POLICY TERMS
    • You and Your
    • Insured
    • Resident relative
  • 6. POLICY INTERPRETATION
    • Plain meaning
    • Intent of the parties
    • Enforced as written
      • Except if there is an ambiguity
      • If ambiguity, then construed against insurer
  • 7. COMMON LAW MARRIAGE
    • Colorado one of a dozen states recognizing common law marriage
    • Mutual consent or agreement to be husband and wife followed by a mutual and open assumption of a marital arrangement
  • 8. WHOSE COVERED IN A COMMON LAW MARRIAGE
    • Fact driven
    • Matter of proof
    • What do I need to prove
    • Whose burden is it?
  • 9. WHAT DOES THE CASE LAW REALLY SAY
    • Mixed results
      • Valencia v. Northland Ins. Co. , 514 P.2d 789 (Colo. App. 1973)
      • Rocky Mountain Fuel Co. v. Reed , 110 Colo. 88, 130 P.2d 1049 (1942)
      • Zuzich v. Leyden Lignite Co ., 120 Colo. 21, 206 P.2d 833 (1949)
      • Employer’s Mut. Liability Ins. Co. v. Industrial Commission , 124 Colo. 68, 243 P.2d 901 (1951)