• PA Supreme Court: UIM Form in Compliance with MVFRL Even with Minor Language Deviations.
  • June 2, 2017 | Author: Allison L. Krupp
  • Law Firm: Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C. - Camp Hill Office
  • Ford v. American States Ins. Co., No. 13 WAP 2016 (Pa. Nov. 2, 2016)

    The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania granted allowance of appeal to determine whether an insurer’s underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage rejection form “specifically complies” with Section 1731 of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) if the form is not a verbatim reproduction of the form found in Subsection 1731(c) but differs in an inconsequential manner.  The plaintiff’s mother had signed a UIM rejection form at the policy’s inception. The plaintiff was subsequently involved in a motor vehicle accident and submitted a claim for UIM coverage under her mother’s policy. American States denied the claim since the mother had previously signed the rejection form. The plaintiff argued that Subsection 1731(c.1) requires that the rejection form “specifically comply” with Section 1731 or the form is void. The issue was whether a rejection form “specifically complies” when it contains certain minor deviations, i.e., use of the word “motorists” instead of “motorist” and the addition of the word “motorists” to another portion of the form that is not included in the statute. The court held that a UIM coverage rejection form specifically complies with the MVFRL even if it contains de minimis deviations from the statute. The court considered that the slight alterations of the statutory language did not render the form ambiguous.