APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. RICHARD
L. CURRY, Judge, presiding.
MR. JUSTICE MCGLOON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Plaintiffs filed a class action complaint against Northwest Insurance Brokers, Inc., and Industrial Casualty Insurance Company alleging, inter alia, violations of the Consumer Fraud Act. The trial court dismissed count IV of the complaint directed at Industrial. Plaintiffs appeal from this dismissal and argue that count IV adequately alleged a principal-agent relationship between Industrial and Northwest.
Due to the nature of this appeal, we need only summarize the pertinent allegations of counts I and IV of the complaint.
In count I, plaintiffs alleged that Northwest Insurance Brokers, Inc., (Northwest), engaged in the sale of credit automobile insurance. When plaintiffs purchased the automobile insurance, Northwest sold and charged for accidental death policies which plaintiffs said they neither requested nor ordered. Northwest failed to advise plaintiffs of the additional cost of accidental death insurance.
The automobile policies provided coverage for six months. The accidental death policies provided coverage for one year. When some plaintiffs renewed the automobile policies, Northwest, without plaintiffs' knowledge or consent, renewed and charged for overlapping one-year accidental death policies.
Plaintiffs charged that Northwest violated the Consumer Fraud Act by failing to advise plaintiffs of the following facts:
(1) plaintiffs were purchasing accidental death policies at an additional cost;
(2) plaintiffs could have obtained better and less expensive death and/or accident insurance;
(3) the term of the accidental death policy was six months longer that the term of the automobile policy;
(4) renewal of the automobile policy would result in an increased cost because of the addition of a second overlapping accidental death policy.
Also alleged as Consumer Fraud Act violations were Northwest's failure to refer to the accidental death policies in the wage assignment agreements and to disclose the cost of said insurance in the installment contracts. Plaintiff contended that the foregoing acts and omissions created a likelihood of confusion and misunderstanding.
In count IV, plaintiffs alleged those facts in count I which are summarized above. They additionally alleged in their complaint that the accidental death policies were issued by Industrial; that Industrial authorized Northwest to act as its agent for the purpose of selling accidental death policies; that Industrial ratified the manner and form of the fraudulent sales; that Industrial had actual knowledge of the overlapping policies; and that Industrial owed a duty to plaintiffs pursuant to the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act and breached that duty.
Northwest and Industrial moved for dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that it failed to state a cause of action. The trial court granted only Industrial's ...