Thursday, January 26, 2023

As A Matter of First Impression Pennsylvania Superior Court Upholds UIM Limit of Protection Clause

In the case of Erie Ins. Exchange v. Backmeier, No. 323 WDA 2022 (Pa. Super. Dec. 28, 2022 Olson, J., Dubow, J., and Colins, J.) (Op. by Olson, J.), the Pennsylvania Superior Court affirmed a trial court’s granting of Erie Insurance’s Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and denial of the injured party’s cross-Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings in a case addressing the issue of whether a “limit of protection” clause capping second priority UIM coverage to the highest limit of liability of any signal second priority UIM coverage policy violates the excess coverage requirement of Pennsylvania’s Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law.

In a matter of first impression, the Superior Court panel ruled that a particular limit on the amount of underinsured motorist coverage and insured may recover from multiple policy does not violate Pennsylvania’s MVFRL.

In this case, the insurance policy clause at issue capped the Plaintiff’s total available UIM coverage at the highest limit of a single one of her policies, rather than capping her coverage at the combined limit of the two (2) policies she held.

The court otherwise noted that the stacking waivers that the Plaintiff had signed for each of her automobile insurance policies precluded her from combing the coverage limits of the two (2) separate policies. The court found that, where a Plaintiff knowingly and effectively waived stacking, the type of “limit of protection” clause found in an automobile insurance policy does not violate the excess coverage requirement of the MVFRL.

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

Source: “Pa. Appeals Judges Allow Cap on UIM Insurance Under ‘Limit of Protection’ Clause,” by Aleeza Furman Pennsylvania Law Weekly (Dec. 29, 2022).

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