Justifiable Reliance Negated by Policy Exclusions

Clint Simon applied for a “Termite & Pest Control General Liability” insurance policy for his d/b/a, Sherlock Pest. The application included a “WDI Exclusion,” which excluded liability for claims or losses arising out of inspections for Wood Destroying Insects. That exclusion, in somewhat different form, was included in a pair of endorsements to the policy that was subsequently issued, as well as a later renewal policy. When a homeowner sued Simon for performing an improper inspection, the insurer invoked the WDI Exclusion to deny coverage. Simon sued, but the insurer obtained summary judgment on all claims. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that Simon could not have justifiably relied on a coverage certificate the insurer had filed with the Texas Department of Agriculture, which had not mentioned any exclusion in Simon’s insurance policy. Because the application, the initial policy, and the renewal policy all contained the WDI Exclusion, a reasonable person could not have relied on the coverage certificate as a representation that there was actually insurance coverage for WDI inspections. The Court also rejected Simon’s argument that the trial court should have granted a continuance to permit him to conduct more discovery, as his appellate brief failed to explain how the additional discovery would have allowed him to respond to the summary judgment motion.

Simon v. Tudor Ins. Co., No. 05-12-004430CV

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