Can an Insurance Company Deny Coverage?
The George Court of Appeals recently ruled against an insurance company that wanted to deny underinsured motorist coverage to a man who was hurt in a Georgia traffic crash because of language in the insurance policy excluding such coverage. Hiding language deep into contracts is common when dealing with contracts. Luckily we have the courts and educated lawyers to protect the public from crooked legal schemes big corporations perform to protect profits.
What the Argument Was
The insurance company argued that Indiana law should apply because the policy was delivered in Indiana to the man’s employer, which owned the vehicle. Indiana law does not provide for underinsured coverage in the type of policy issued to the employer.
The Georgia Court of Appeals, however, rejected that reasoning, holding that Georgia law governed because almost all of the key connections to the policy were related to Georgia. The legal specifics can get really confusing when you start dealing with the different policies in different states. This is why whenever you move to another state you should meet with your new auto insurance agent and discuss any changes to your policy.
An Accident 11 Years Ago
This accident happened 11 years ago, the injured driver was operating a pick-up truck owned by his employer (a tree service company), which was covered by an $8 million excess and umbrella policy. The injured driver sued the other driver and eventually reached a settlement for the full insurance policy limits of $25,000 on the other vehicle. Although this accident happened long ago the policies and principles we can learn from the story still remain the same.
The injured driver then sought underinsured coverage under the $8 million policy that covered his employer’s vehicle. The insurance company denied coverage, necessitating a lawsuit to obtain the underinsured motorist benefits.
The principal risk being insured was a motor vehicle accident in Georgia, the court emphasized. As such, Georgia law should apply, especially given the main purpose of Georgia’s underinsured motorist coverage law – which is to ensure that insurance benefits are available for motorists who are injured because of the carelessness of other drivers.
Georgia law requires an insured driver to request in writing that underinsured coverage be excluded in a policy, the court said. The injured driver and his employer did not make that written request.
Georgia law at the time the 2005 policy was issued required excess/umbrella policies to include underinsured coverage. As of 2009, however, the law was amended to state that uninsured/underinsured coverage is included in excess policies only if a policy endorsement specifically includes that coverage.
Be Careful – Insurance Companies Focus on Profits
We’ve said it many times and we will say it again. We need insurance companies, they do many good things. Unfortunately there is this side of insurance companies that focus strictly on profit. To achieve the highest possible profits they’ll usually make decisions and do things that can come off as unethical. If you believe you’re a victim of this practice we need you to contact our law firm today. Although this story was eleven years ago the same things still go on all of the time. We don’t want you to be a victim of that type of abuse. We have the best car accident lawyers in the country waiting to help. Call now.