Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Eastern District Court Addresses UIM Stacking Issue

In the case of Meyers v. Travelers Ins. Co., No. 21-3291 (E.D. Pa. April 6, 2022 Beetlestone, J.), the court granted the Defendant carrier’s Motion for Summary Judgment after finding that non-stacked underinsured motorist coverage limiting recovery to the highest applicable limit of any other second-priority policy was consistent with the stacking waiver statute under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law as well as with public policy interests. 

In this matter, the injured party was involved in a motor vehicle accident. The injured party then filed insurance claims under six (6) different policies.

The injured party received the policy limit of the tortfeasor’s policy but that amount was allegedly insufficient to cover her for her claims.

The injured party then sought to recover underinsured motorist benefits.

The injured party was a named insured on four (4) policies that offered UIM benefits. The injured party first covered under the policy that covered her car that was involved in the accident. She additionally recovered additional amounts in stacked UIM benefits from two (2) other policies.

The Plaintiff then sought to recover UIM benefits from this Defendant carrier, who had issued a policy to the Plaintiff’s mother, with whom the Plaintiff resided at the time of the accident.

However, the Plaintiff’s mother had waived stacking.

The carrier asserted that the Plaintiff was only entitled to recover a lesser amount due to an “other insurance” in the policy, which implemented the stacking waiver by limiting UIM coverage to the highest limit applicable under any of the Plaintiff’s second prior policies.

Because the Plaintiff had already recovered from her second priority carriers, the Defendant in this matter concluded that it was only obligated to pay at 17% pro rata share of the available limits under the Plaintiff’s second prior policy.

The Plaintiff asserted that the policy clause at issue in the Travelers’ policy was void and unenforceable and that the offset sought by Travelers should be against the total value of her claim and not the total amount of coverage.

The court rejected the Plaintiff’s argument. The court held, in part, that the Plaintiff’s argument would effectively eliminate stacking waivers. The court additionally found the policy language at issue to be consistent with the public policy interest as the decrease in the carrier’s exposure was the result of the Plaintiff’s mother having waived stacking and receiving a lower premium amount as a result.

Anyone wishing to review a copy of this decision may click this LINK.

Source: “Digest of Recent Opinions.” Pennsylvania Law Weekly (May 3, 2022).

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