No. 01506 Philadelphia 1983, Appeal from the Order entered May 11, 1983, in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Civil, No. 79-7073-08-1.
Kevin J. Sommar, Landsdale, for appellant.
Robert L. Seigle, Southampton, for appellee.
Cirillo, Olszewski and Montgomery, JJ. Montgomery, J., filed a dissenting statement.
[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 286]
In this case, appellant Mears, Inc., appeals the lower court's denial of its motion for a new trial after a verdict for appellee, National Basic Sensors, Inc. Mears argues
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that the verdict was contrary to law and against the weight and sufficiency of the evidence and against the charge of the court, and that the trial judge erred in his charges to the jury. After studying the record, the lower court's opinion and the law, we reverse the lower court's order denying appellant's motion for a new trial.
The facts are these: Mears is an insurance agency handling, among others, policies written by American Policyholders Insurance Company. National Basic Sensors was insured, under a "standard multi-perils policy," for $100,000 by American Policyholders for a three-year period beginning September 1, 1977, with premiums payable yearly. National Basic paid the 1977-78 premium in December of 1977.
When the policy became effective in 1977, National Basic operated in leased quarters in Feasterville, Pennsylvania, In January, 1978, the company purchased a building in Churchville, Pennsylvania, and requested proof of insurance for mortgage purposes. Mears issued a binder showing proof of insurance for $160,000 for the new location, an increase of $60,000 over the prior coverage. The binder, which referred to the insurance policy already in existence for National Basic, expired on September 1, 1978. The only document received by National Basic showing the new location and coverage was this binder.*fn1
In April, 1978, National Basic requested an increase in coverage, from $160,000 to $190,000. Mears assured National Basic that the company was covered, but issued no binder or endorsement to reflect the change. An officer of National Basic, Raymond McHugh, "repeatedly requested that Mears furnish to National Basic additional evidence that the new property was insured and requested the issuance of a formal policy." This Mears did not do. When National Basic received a bill from Mears on September 1, 1978, referring to the original premises in Feasterville as
[ 337 Pa. Super. Page 288]
the insured premises, officers of National Basic contacted American Policyholders directly and then cancelled the policy. Mears sent National Basic a bill for the increased and changed insurance coverage from January 5, 1978 to September 1, 1978, which National Basic ...