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Allstate Insurance Company v. State Farm Mutual Insurance Company No. 43, Sept. Term, 2000 - page 17 / 26





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therea ter and “assembled as much information concerning the accident as was then available,” (id. at 270,

189 A.2d at 626-27), the company eventually disclaimed coverage on the ground of late notice. The

insured filed a declaratory judgment action to determine the insurer’s obligations. We concluded that

prompt noticewas a condition precedent to an action on the policy, and that, although the condition could

be waived and was subject to an estoppel defense, the insurer was not required to show any actual

prejudice in order to be relieved from its obligation. A contrary approach, we said, was “not in accord with

the Maryland decisions, nor with the weight of authority elsewhere in this country.” Id. at 272, 189 A.2d

at 627.

Thus, by1963,itappearedclearthat,if the insured failed to give proper notice of the accident or

of a claim or failed to forward suit papers in a timely manner, the insurer could disclaimcoverage without

ashowingofprejudice—the obligation was effectively treated as a condition precedent to an action on

the policy — but that the insurer could not disclaim based on the insured’s failure to make truthful

statements regarding the accident and claim absent a showing of prejudice. Whether the distinction drawn

in Indemni y Ins. Co. between non-cooperation based on the giving of untruthful statements and that

based on failure to attend hearings and give evidence remained intact is not altogether clear. We seem to

have glossed over it in McConnaughy. See also Home Indemnity Co. v. Walker, 260 Md. 684,

688, 273 A.2d 429, 439 (1971).

The General Assembly responded to the Watson case, and also, perhaps, to the Indemni y Ins.

Co. case, by enacting, in its 1964 session, what is now § 19-110 of the Insurance Article. See St. Paul

Fire & Marine Ins. v. House, 315 Md. 328, 332, 554 A.2d 404, 406 (1989). As presently worded,

the statute provides:

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