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Liberty excess comp premiums ruling upheld on appeal

Liberty excess comp premiums ruling upheld on appeal

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a lower court ruling that tossed out allegations that Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and First Liberty Insurance Corp. had charged excess premiums.

WireCo World Group Inc., a multistate wire and cable company with operations in Texas, Missouri and other states, between 2009 and 2012 purchased workers compensation insurance from what is collectively referred to as “Liberty” in court documents pertaining to WireCo. WorldGroup Inc. v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co. and First Liberty Insurance Corp..

In its suit filed in U.S. District Court in St. Joseph, Missouri, WireCo accused the insurer of miscalculating premiums and refusing to refund overpayments as stipulated in the insurance contract — specifically “that Liberty breached the 2010, 2011, and 2012 renewal policies because it modified the Missouri and Texas schedule rating factors without complying with the procedures laid out in the Missouri and Texas schedule rating plans,” according to documents.

WireCo claimed it was due $545,561 in refunds based on overcharged premiums, documents state.

The District Court dismissed part of WireCo’s claim, concluding that WireCo “failed to state a claim on which relief can be granted.” The District Court subsequently granted summary judgment for Liberty on WireCo’s breach of contract claims, also part of the original complaint, reasoning “that the Missouri and Texas schedule rating plans were not incorporated into the renewal policies, so that Liberty’s alleged violations of the rating plans’ notice and documentation requirements did not constitute breach of contract,” documents state.

A three-judge panel of the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit unanimously upheld the District Court’s ruling.

“Proof of damages is an essential element of WireCo’s breach of contract claims. Because WireCo failed to present evidence that it would have paid lower premiums if Liberty had complied with the notice and documentation requirements of the Missouri and Texas schedule rating plans, we conclude that Liberty was entitled to summary judgment on WireCo’s breach of contract claims,” the ruling states.

WireCo officials could not immediately be reached for comment.




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