Northern Security Insurance Co. v. Hatch

In Northern Security Insurance Co. v. Hatch, 165 Vt. 383, 683 A.2d 392 (Vt. 1996), the Vermont Supreme Court considered a clause that appeared under the "conditions" section of a homeowners' policy and that stated that the insurer did "not provide coverage for an insured who, whether before or after a loss has: intentionally concealed or misrepresented any material fact or circumstance." Id. 683 A.2d at 394. The insurer claimed that the provision voided the entire policy. The Vermont Supreme Court agreed with the trial court, which found the condition was ambiguous because it "could be read as cancelling coverage only for the claim to which the material misrepresentation relates or cancelling the entire policy for a claim with any material misrepresentation." Id. 683 A.2d at 395. In distinguishing many of the cases in which the policies were found void, the court noted, as we do here, that many other cases discussed policies that specified the whole policy is voided by an insured who violates the provision. Id. 683 A.2d at 396.