In my last post I discussed French King Realty Inc. v. Interstate Fire & Cas. Co., 79 Mass. App. Ct. 653 (2011), in which the Massachusetts Appeals Court held that coverage for a fire loss was excluded because the insured knew that its fire suppression system was suspended or impaired and because the system was not maintained in complete working order.
Interstate, the insurer, had made an advance payment to the insured, French King. French King argued that it was not required to return the advance payment because Interstate did not reserve it rights and defenses in connection with the payment.
The court disagreed. It followed other jurisdictions that have reasoned that an insurer is entitled to reimbursement for an erroneous payment when coverage does not exist under the policy and the insured was unjustly enriched and did not change position to its detriment in reliance on the payment.