National Auto. Ins. Ass'n v. Brumit

Decision Date20 November 1957
Citation98 So.2d 330
PartiesNATIONAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE ASSOCIATION, a foreign corporation, Appellant, v. Charles D. BRUMIT, Appellee.
CourtFlorida Supreme Court

Robinson & Robinson, St. Petersburg, and S. Perry Penland, Jacksonville, for appellant.

Bussey & Simmons, St. Petersburg, for appellee.

THORNAL, Justice.

Appellant National Automobile Insurance Association, which was defendant below, seeks reversal of a summary final decree entered in a declaratory judgment proceeding.

The question to be settled is whether appellant is liable on an insurance policy hereafter summarized.

Appellee, Brumit, filed a complaint in equity seeking a declaration of his rights under an insurance policy issued to him by appellant which we hereafter refer to as 'the Association'. Except for the peculiarities mentioned herein the Association issued to appellee Brumit a standard policy of public liability coverage on an automobile. However, instead of insuring the described automobile, the policy had stamped on its face 'Name Operator Policy--Description [of the automobile] Waived'. Brumit was the named assured. Under the insuring agreements the Association agreed 'To pay on behalf of the insured all sums which the insured shall become legally obligated to pay * * *', because of bodily injury or property damage, 'caused by accident and arising out of the ownership' of the automobile. Another provision of the policy defined the word 'insured' by stating that 'the unqualified word 'insured' includes the named insured and also includes any person while using the automobile' with permission of the named insured. A rider added to the policy provides that it covers the named assured's automobile on any military reservation when it is operated by a driver legally authorized to operate it. A further condition of the policy is that the 'named insured' shall refer only to the subscriber.

While the appellee's automobile was being driven by his fiancee on a public highway in the State of Kentucky an accident occurred. This produced a lawsuit against appellee and his then-fiancee (now his wife) in the State of Kentucky. Appellant denied liability and refused to defend the Kentucky litigation. The instant proceeding was filed in Pinellas County, Florida, as a suit for a declaratory decree.

The appellee contended that the Association was liable on the policy and should be required to defend the Kentucky action. The Chancellor agreed with the appellee and entered a decree construing the policy as appellee contended. By the decree the Association was directed to defend the Kentucky litigation, assume the liability of the appellee Brumit to the extent of the policy limits and in the instant case to pay a fee to the attorneys for the appellee. No responsibility for the claims against the wife of appellee was imposed upon the Association. Reversal of this decree is now sought.

Appellant contends that the insurance policy merely insured the owner of the automobile only while he, himself, was operating it, with the lone exception of when the car was being driven on a military reservation with the owner's permission as provided in the attached rider.

The appellee...

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26 cases
  • State Farm Fire & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Deni Associates of Florida, Inc.
    • United States
    • Florida District Court of Appeals
    • July 17, 1996
    ...contract of insurance to give effect to the intent of the parties, ...." [c.o.; e.s.] 76 So.2d at 286; see also National Auto. Ins. Ass'n v. Brumit, 98 So.2d 330 (Fla.1957) (provisions of policy limiting or avoiding liability construed most liberally in favor of insured and strictly against......
  • Touchette v. Northwestern Mut. Ins. Co., 42062
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    • March 2, 1972 uninsured motorists provisions of automobile insurance policies is against public policy and is void: Nat'l Automobile Insurance Assoc. v. Brumit, Fla.1957, 98 So.2d 330; Sellers v. United States Fidelity & Guaranty Co., Fla.1966, 185 So.2d 689; Travelers Indemnity Co. v. Powell, Fla.App......
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    • January 13, 1975 limit or avoid liability should be construed in favor of the insured and strictly against the insurer. National Automobile Ins. Ass'n v. Brumit, 98 So.2d 330, 332 (Fla.1957), we conclude that Cobb's accident did not arise out of the operation of Lakeland's automobile business and therefo......
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