The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed a partial denial of summary judgment in favor of an insurer, finding the insured’s policy void because her boyfriend was a regular driver of her vehicle, despite her warranty that there were no other regular drivers. Safeway Ins. Co. v. Dukes, 2015 WL 8481604 (Miss. Dec. 10, 2015).
An insurer sought declaratory judgment in an action against its insured and her boyfriend. The boyfriend injured a boy while driving the insured’s vehicle, resulting in litigation. The insured did not name her boyfriend as a regular frequent driver on her insurance application. The insured moved for summary judgment on the basis that the policy was void due to the insured’s failure to name the boyfriend in her application. The insured argued that the named-driver exclusion was void up to the statutory minimum coverage limits. The trial court denied the insurer’s summary judgment.
In reversing and granting summary judgment, the Mississippi Supreme Court held that jurisprudence enforcing the minimum limits was distinguishable because it involved a valid policy. As the insured made a false warranty and a misrepresentation as to frequent drivers, no valid policy existed. The Mississippi Supreme Court clarified that the statutory requirement that there be minimum liability coverage as to vehicles applied to vehicles, not drivers, and was inapplicable based on the policy being void as a result of the insured’s false warranty and misrepresentation. Additionally, the Court clarified that the amendment of Mississippi Code Section 63-15-3 now allows for exclusions and limitations of coverage so long as the language or form has been filed with and approved by the Commissioner of Insurance.