Safeco Waives Anti-assignment Clause

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2019 | Insurance Law

Clear Vision was an automobile windshield repair company which operated inside individual auto dealership repair shops. Clear Vision’s business practice was to repair a customer’s windshield once the customer had signed an assignment of the right to payment to Clear Vision under the customer’s insurance policy. After the windshield was repaired, Clear Vision would then submit the invoice directly to the customer’s insurance company. With respect to Safeco, Clear Vision had submitted thousands of glass repair claims, even though there was no contractual relationship between Clear Vision and Safeco. Eighty-five percent of the direct invoices were paid in the full amount of the invoice while 15% of the invoices were not paid. Throughout this process, Safeco never raised the anti-assignment clause as the reason why it was not paying the Clear Vision invoice. Recently the Texas Appeals Court found that the relationship between Clear Vision and Safeco resulted in a waiver of Safeco’s policy right to assert the anti-assignment clause in its policy.

In Safeco Ins. Co. of Am. v. Clear Vision Windshield Repair, LLC, 564 S.W.3d 913 (Tex. App. 2018), Safeco refused to pay four of Clear Vision’s invoices. In turn, Clear Vision sued Safeco for breach of contract predicated upon the assignment given by the customer/insured. Under Safeco’s business practice, it had given an exclusive contract to Safelight as a third-party administrator for all glass damage claims nationwide. Under the arrangement Safeco had authorized Safelight to pay glass repair vendors directly. Safeco also paid invoices.

The trial court held that Safeco had never previously raised the anti-assignment clause on Clear Vision claims invoices that it did not pay and under the facts presented regarding the four invoices at issue that were unpaid, Safeco waited six months after nonpayment to first assert the defense of the anti-assignment clause. The trial court’s determination that Safeco had waived enforcement of the anti-assignment clause was affirmed by the Texas Court of Appeals.