Simeone v. Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co.
Marine insurance is "insurance with a subject matter specifically related to hazards encountered in maritime transportation, including the risks of river and inland navigation," pursuant to Acadia Insurance Co. v. McNeil, a 1997 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit. Allegedly, the defendant, Middlesex Mutual Assurance Co., issued an insurance policy for a 2003 Maxum 2900 SE watercraft that sunk in Long Island Sound, on or about Oct. 4, 2009. The defendant insurance company denied the plaintiffs' request for insurance coverage, and the plaintiffs filed a complaint on March 16, 2011. The defendant insurance company moved for summary judgment and argued that the plaintiffs failed to file suit timely, because the insurance policy provides, "The action must be started within one year after the accident causing the loss." The plaintiffs objected that the subject insurance policy qualifies as a "fire insurance policy" and that Connecticut General Statutes §38a-307 provides an 18-month statute of limitations for fire insurance policies. "[A]n insurance policy's predominant purpose, as measured by the dimensions of the contingency insured against and the risk assumed, determines the nature of the insurance," pursuant to Jeffcott v. Aetna Insurance Co. "It is clear in reviewing the language of the subject policy," wrote the Superior Court, "that it has little resemblance to the standard form of fire insurance policy." The subject policy covers "the insured watercraft and tender while they are afloat, on shore, or being transported on a land conveyance." The policy, which provides coverage for watercraft, longshoremen's and harbor's workers' compensation, and medical payments, appears to comply with descriptions of marine insurance policies. The court concluded that the plaintiffs' policy qualifies as marine insurance, as opposed to fire insurance, and that the one-year statute of limitations in C.G.S. §38a-290 and the policy apply. The court granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment.