THE SUPERIOR COURT OF JUSTICE’S HOLDING THAT THE CONSUMER DEFENSE CODE APPLIES TO BUSINESS INSURANCE POLICIES
Justice Ricardo Villas Bôas Cueva of the Superior Court of Justice, in deciding Special Appeal #1.352.419-SP, recently held that the Consumer Defense Code applies to business insurance policies. The case being appealed involved a lawsuit brought by a car dealership against an insurance company. The car dealership’s underlying claim was for an insurance payment under a business insurance policy. The policy provided coverage for assets at the dealership, including vehicles. The insurance company had denied payment under the policy based on failure to prove the type of theft that had occurred, with a disagreement about whether it had been a simple or aggravated theft and policy coverage.
The car dealership won the case at trial, with a decision based on consumer law. The trial court’s decision was amended in an appeal decided by the São Paulo State Court of Justice, which held that the Consumer Defense Code does not apply. It held that the relationship between the litigants was a business rather than a consumer relationship. In other words, the court held that the insurance policy was in the nature of an input and not a consumer good.
It was precisely the disagreement about whether the Consumer Defense Code applies to business insurance policies that was considered by the Superior Court of Justice, specifically when the company takes out an insurance policy to protect its own assets.
Apr-Jun 2015 issue
Barretto Ferreira e Brancher