Court of Appeal affirms that a homeowner’s non-specific request to an insurance agent to cover “everything in the house” creates no duty requiring the agent to advise the insured about the inadequacy of their jewelry coverage

A homeowner sought insurance coverage for his $9.5 million home in Los Angeles.  He advised an insurance agent for Fire Insurance Exchange that he wanted a policy that covered “everything in the house, fully and completely.”  The agent said “okay.”  Fire issued a homeowner’s policy that included a $5,000 sub-limit for jewelry.

While the homeowner and his wife were traveling, their home was burglarized.  Among the items allegedly stolen were two safes containing jewelry.  When they filed a claim with Fire seeking coverage for the stolen jewelry, the insurer paid the policy’s $5,000 jewelry sub-limit, and more than $100,000 to cover the homeowners’ total losses.  The homeowners then sued the insurance carrier for $50 million in damages based on the alleged value of the stolen jewelry.  Their negligence and negligent misrepresentation claims went to the jury.  At trial, the jury rendered a defense verdict.

On appeal, the homeowners argued that the trial court made numerous legal errors related to demurrers, motions in limine, jury instructions, and expert fees.  The Court of Appeal affirmed in favor of GMSR’s insurer client on all issues.  Among other things, it held that the homeowners’ non-specific insurance request triggered no duty to advise the homeowners of inadequacies in their jewelry coverage, so the trial court did not err in refusing the homeowners’ proposed jury instruction that assumed such a duty.

To read the Court of Appeal Opinion, click here:  Oshodin v. Fire Insurance Exchange (Feb. 29, 2024, B319043) 2024 WL 854436.