Appeals from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, July T., 1972, No. 252, in case of Samuel S. Siple v. L. L. Logan and Paradise Mutual Insurance Company.
A. Thomas Parke, III, with him Wood, Parke & Barnes, for appellant at No. 745.
John S. Halsted, with him Gawthrop & Greenwood, for appellant at No. 755.
Allen O. Olin, for appellee.
Watkins, P. J., Jacobs, Hoffman, Cercone, Price, Van der Voort, and Spaeth, JJ. Opinion by Cercone, J.
[ 232 Pa. Super. Page 323]
This appeal arises from a judgment entered for plaintiff, and against both appellants jointly, after a non-jury trial. The lower court determined that the insurance agent, Logan, negligently failed to renew fire insurance for plaintiff, who subsequently suffered a $25,000 fire loss. Reasoning that Logan was acting within the scope of his employment with Paradise Mutual
[ 232 Pa. Super. Page 324]
when he failed to exercise reasonable care in seeking the renewal, the court determined that Paradise Mutual was also liable under the doctrine of respondeat superior. In so doing the court necessarily rejected plaintiff's alternative claim in assumpsit against Paradise Mutual. We find this to be error and will reverse the court's finding that the agent was jointly liable with the insurer for the loss sustained by plaintiff.
Simply stated, the facts of the case are as follows: In 1967, plaintiff went to Logan, the insurance agent, in order to procure fire insurance for his farm property. Since Logan was not only a licensed agent of Paradise Mutual, but a broker representing various other insurance carriers as well, plaintiff had a choice of several companies with which to place the insurance. Plaintiff expressed no preference for any particular carrier, but asked for the company which would provide the least expensive fire insurance. That company proved to be Paradise Mutual and, at plaintiff's request, Logan placed the insurance with Paradise Mutual. Thereafter, for three consecutive years plaintiff requested and received renewals of the policy through Logan's agency.
In April of 1971, as he had in previous years, Logan received a notice from Paradise that plaintiff's policy was coming up for renewal. The obvious purpose of this notice was to remind Logan to solicit a renewal from plaintiff. Logan contacted plaintiff and not only reminded him to renew the policy, but advised him to increase his coverage. Per Logan's advice, plaintiff agreed to increased coverage and a renewal of the policy.
In May of 1971, Logan sent a letter to Paradise Mutual instructing it to increase the coverage on the fire insurance policy, but he failed to advise it of plaintiff's renewal. Paradise Mutual increased the coverage on the lapsing policy but, of ...