Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Content of UIM Waiver Form Upheld By Third Circuit (Not Precedential)

In the case of Keeler v. Esurance Insurance Services, Inc., No. 21-2449 (3d Cir. Oct. 18, 2022 Jordan, J., Porter, J., and Phipps, J.) (Op. by Phipps, J.) (marked “Not Precedential), the Third Circuit Court of Common Pleas affirmed a district court’s ruling in favor of the UIM carrier and found that the carrier was correct in its denial of coverage and that the Plaintiff’s bad faith claim was without merit.

According to the Opinion, this case involved a claim for UIM benefits related to a collision between a motorcycle and a motor vehicle.

The Plaintiff’s injuries allegedly exceeded the Defendant driver’s liability insurance coverage limit and, as such, the motorcyclist and his wife sought UIM benefits under their own motorcycle insurance policy issued by Esurance.

However, the record before the court confirmed that, when the Plaintiffs originally purchased that policy, they expressly waived UIM coverage in writing. As such, the carrier refused to pay.

The Plaintiffs sued and asserted that the waiver could not be enforced and that, as a result, they should be entitled to a bad faith recovery due to an alleged improper denial of coverage.

As noted, the court disagreed and found that the waiver of UIM coverage signed by the Plaintiff was proper and met the requirements of 75 Pa. C.S.A. §1731. The Third Circuit agreed with the district court’s finding that the UIM rejection form satisfied the prominent-type-and-location requirements in terms of the language of the waiver form.

The Third Circuit also agreed with the district court’s decision that any alleged violations of the renewal notice provision were not remediable through a civil action.

Note that the household exclusion was not at issue in this case because the Plaintiffs were trying to seek UIM benefits under their own motorcycle policy that covered the motorcycle that the Plaintiff was operating at the time of the accident.  In other words, the Plaintiffs were not attempting to recover UIM benefits under some other policy covering some other vehicle in the household.

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

I send thanks to Attorney Joseph Hudock of the Pittsburgh office of the law firm of Summers, McDonnell, Hudock, Guthrie & Rauch, P.C.

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