Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Superior Court Rules on Election of UM/UIM Coverages Issue

In a case of semantics, the Pennsylvania Superior Court recently ruled in the case of Nationwide v. Catalini, 2011 WL 1089873 (Pa.Super. March 25, 2011, Bowes, Donohue, and Olsen, JJ.)(Opinion by Bowes), that an insured's signed form calling for an increase in their bodily injury liability coverage did not require an equal increase in the UM/UIM limits under the policy.

The dispute revolved around the inclusion of the language on the form stating "leave the other coverages the same."

The insureds argued that that language meant that they intended the UM/UIM coverage to be increased to the same amounts of the liability coverage. More specifically, the insureds wanted to bump up their UM/UIM coverage from $25,000/$50,000 to $100,000/$300,000.

Nationwide disagreed and asserted that the language at issue meant that the insured intended to increase only the liability coverage and keep the UM/UIM coverage the same as it was before the change in liability coverage was requested.

The Superior Court sided with the carrier's position and essentially ruled that the carrier did not have to obtain a new election form specifically regarding the UM/UIM coverage as the insureds had previously executed and submitted a form on the desired coverages in that regard a few years before this issue arose.

Here's a link to the Opinion online if you interested in reading it: http://www.pacourts.us/OpPosting/Superior/out/a29025_10.pdf

Source: Gina Passarella, "Increase in Bodily Injury Limits Doesn't Require New UM/UIM Elections, The Legal Intelligencer (March 29, 2011).

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