Insurance Issues And Common Law Marriage 2009

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Insurance Issues And Common Law Marriage 2009

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

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