Emer’s Camper Corral, LLC v. Alderman (Negligent Procurement)

In Emer’s Camper Corral, LLC v. Alderman (2018AP458), the Court of Appeals District III held that plaintiffs claiming negligent procurement by an insurance agent must establish that they could have obtained a non-injurious policy but for their agent’s alleged negligence. In this case, Camper Corral failed to produce evidence that it could have otherwise obtained a desired policy, so its agent Alderman did not cause Camper Corral’s damages.

After Camper Corral, a business that sells campers, had twice previously filed claims under previous insurers for approximately $100,000 in hail damage, Alderman procured an insurance policy through Western Heritage Insurance Company for Camper Corral to insure its inventory. The Western Heritage policy had a hail damage deductible of $5,000 per unit. According to Camper Corral, the following year Alderson told Camper Corral he obtained a reduced deductible of $1,000 per unit with a $5,000 total deductible cap. However, when Camper Corral filed a claim for another hail storm under the policy, the policy language actually retained the original $5,000 per unit.

Camper Corral filed the instant negligence action, seeking damages of amounts they were required to pay above the $5,000 total deductible cap they thought the policy included. Alderman argued that there was no evidence Camper Corral could otherwise have obtained a policy with the desired $1,000 per unit, $5,000 total deductible cap, so Alderman could not be held liable.

With no Wisconsin precedent to rely on, the appeals court looked to a Minnesota decision that requires plaintiffs to show they would have been able to obtain the desired policy terms absent the agent’s negligence. Camper Corral did not produce evidence to prove it could have obtained the desired hail damage policy, so its negligence claim failed.