Insurance Law Class Syllabus Spring 2012

Insurance Law Class Syllabus

Professor Ronald V. Miller, Jr.

Fall 2010 (click here for Fall 2012)

August 31, 2010

The Essence of Risk

What is Insurance?

GAF Corp. v. County School Board (pp.8-10)

Notes (pp. 10-13)

Nature of the Insurance Relationship

Rawlings v. Apodaca (pp.13-17)

Bad Faith Law in Maryland

Edwin W. Patterson, Essentials of Insurance Law (pp.17-18)

Notes (pp. 18-20)

Introduction (p. 21)

Risk and the Insurance Contract

Deschler v. Fireman's Fund American Life Insurance (pp.21-24)

Notes (p.24-27)

Text (pp. 27-41) (recommended)

September 7, 2010

Fundamental Assumptions


Compagnie Des Bauxites, v. North America (pp. 43-46)

Notes (pp. 46-50)

Insurable Interests

Robert H. Jerry, II, Understanding Insurance Law (pp. 59-62) (recommended)

Snethen v. Oklahoma State Union of Famers (pp. 62-66)

Brewton v. Alabama Farm Bureau Mutual Casualty Ins. Co. (pp. 66-67)

Notes 1-3, 9 (pp. 67-71)

Beard v. American Agency Life Ins. Co., 314 Md. 235 (1988) (need to get on-line)

Review Maryland Insurance Administration Home Page

September 14, 2010

Personal Insurance

Mutual Saving Life Insurance v. Noah (pp. 72-77)

Introduction to Indemnity (pp. 92-93)

Valuation of Loss

Elberton Bathing Co. v. Ambassador Ins. Co. (pp. 93-98)

Doelger & Kirsten v. Nat. Union Fire Ins. Co. (pp. 98-102)

Notes 1-4 (pp.126-127)

September 21, 2010


An Overview of State Legislation and Administrative Regulation (pp. 171-184)

Notes (pp. 184-187)


Vlastos v. Sumitomo Marine & Fire Ins. Co. (pp. 191-195)

Note 1 (pp. 195-196)

September 28, 2010

Misrepresentation of a Warranty

Berger v. Minnesota Mutual Life Ins. Co. (pp. 200-203)

Mutual Benefit Life Ins. Co. v. JMR Electrics Corp. (pp. 203-204)

Waxse v. Reserve Life Ins. Co. (p. 204)

Notes 4 & 6 (pp. 206-208)

The Limits of Regulation

Omaha Sky Divers Parachute Club Inc. v. Ranger Ins. Co. (pp. 217-219)

Notes (pp. 219-221)

In the Matter of Mostow v. State Farm Ins. Co. (pp. 233-235)

October 5, 2010Waiver, Estoppel, and Election

Republic Ins. Co. v. Silerton Elevators, Inc. (pp. 243-247)

The Insured's Reasonable Expectations

Clark Peterson Co. Ins. v. Independent Insurance Associates (pp. 254-258)

Notes 1, 2 & 4 (pp. 258-259)

Parole Evidence

Taylor v. State Farm Mutual Auto Ins. Co. (pp. 272-276)

Notes 2 & 3 (p. 277-278)

Maryland on Parole Evidence and Contract Interpretation

Pacific Indemnity Co. v. Interstate Fire & Casualty Co., 302 Md. 383, 388, 488 A.2d 486, 488 (1985)

October 12, 2010


Introduction (pp. 279-280)

Life Insurance

Crobons v. Wisconsin Nat. Life Ins. Co. (pp. 280-284)

Uniform Determination of Death Act (pp. 284-286)

Notes 2 & 4 (pp. 286-287)

Nielsen v. Provident Life & Accident Ins. Co. (pp. 287-290)

Notes 1 & 6 (p. 290, p. 292)

Crawford v. Equitable Life Assurance Society (pp. 292-303)

Lemke v. Schwarz (pp. 303-306)

Appendix G (glace over, in back of textbook)

Note 3

Prudential Ins. Co. of America v. Athmer (pp. 316-321)

INA Life Insurance v. Brundin (pp. 335-342)

Notes (pp. 342-346)

October 19, 2010

Disability Insurance

Shapiro v. Berkshire Life Ins. Co. (pp. 361-364)

Prudence Life Insurance Co. (pp. 365-367)

Note 9 (pp. 371-372)

Health Insurance

Connecticut General Life Ins. Co. v. Shelton (pp. 391-398)

Fuller v. CBT Corp. (pp. 400-402)

Note 1 (p. 402)

October 26, 2010

Bullwinkel v. New England Mutual Life Ins. Co. (p. 412-416)

Note 1 (pp. 417)

Sarchett v. Blue Shield of California (pp. 419-427)

Notes 1 & 2 (p. 427)

Property Insurance

Engle v. Redwood County Famers Mutual Ins. Co. (pp. 428-431)

Youse v. Employers' Fire Ins. Co. (pp. 431-433)

Introduction to Third-Party Coverages and Recurring Issues (pp. 535-537)

Stanley v. American Fire Casualty Co. (p. 537-540)

Notes 1, 6 and 7 (pp. 540-543) (for Note 7, refer to Appendix C in back of your text)


Homeowner's Insurance

AMCO Ins. Co. v. Haht (pp. 545-550)

Nationwide Insurance v. Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois (pp. 550-552)

The Nature of Coverage (pp. 578-579)

The Insuring Agreement (p. 579)

November 2, 2010

CGL Policies

Gatx Leasing Corp. v. National Union Fire Insurance (pp. 580-585)

Montrose Chemical Corp. v. Admiral Insurance Co. (pp. 597-609)

Notes 1-5 (pp. 609-610)

Punitive Damages

First Bank (N.A.)- Billings v. Transamerica Ins. Co. (p.667-673)

November 9, 2010

Introduction to Auto Insurance: Common Coverages and Recurring Ideas (pp. 695-697)

Maryland Transportation Code § 17-103

McNeill v. Maryland Ins. Co. Guaranty Association (pp. 697-701)

DeJarnette v. Federal Kemper Ins. Co., 299 Md. 708 (1984).

Farm Bureau Mutual Ins. Co. v. Evans (pp. 702-703)

Maryland Automobile Insurance Claims (lecture)

November 16, 2010

Maryland Automobile Insurance Continued

Course Review

(Specific dates for Spring Break, etc. will be modified)

Required Texts

Henderson and Jerry: Insurance Law Cases and Materials

Most of the reading assignments are in these texts, except where supplemental reading is noted, mostly Maryland cases.

Course Goals

Simply stated, our goal is that we all learn a lot about insurance law and have a good time in the process. I promise to work hard towards helping you acheive both of these goals.

This two credit course provides an overview of insurance law with a focus at times on Maryland law. We will look at various contracts of insurance, including life, health, property, accident, and liability. We will dig into the interpretation of insurance contracts; conditions precedent; representations; warranties; terms; conditions; coverages; insurable interests; rights of beneficiaries; exemptions; excess liabilities; waiver and estoppel; subrogation; controls on the insurance industry; procedural and evidentiary aspects, including pleadings, declaratory judgments, interpleaders, and joint tortfeasor releases.


You are expected to attend each class on time. I will pass around a sign-in sheet each class session. It is your responsibility to sign this sheet. Our school's rule is clear: if you are absent more than five times you are precluded from taking the final exam.


Certainly, I encourage the use of laptops for notetaking and accessing the internet for class-related information. Just make sure you avoid the random laptop internet searching (involving materials that are not related to that day’s class) or instant messaging because it distracts the entire class.

Please be prepared for class every single day. I'm certainly not looking to embarass anyone and I'm certainly not going to be critical of an unprepared student but my teaching style does lead to asking students at random what happened in individual cases.


Two-thirds of your grade is the final exam. One-third of your grade is participation. Class participation is graded almost exclusively on effort - preparation, how you handle the cases and class discussion, and attendance.


I am excited for a great semester! If you ever have any questions, comments or concerns, please call me at 410-779-4600 or email me at

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