UIM Rejection Form Upheld with Minor Typographical Error

In Nuon, et al v. Bristol West Ins. Gr., No. 1867 EDA 2014 (Pa. Super. 2015) the Superior Court, in a non-precedential Opinion, affirmed the Trial Court’s ruling that a minor typo in an underinsured motorist waiver would not render the waiver invalid.  In this case, the form included the word “motorists” instead of “motorist” in the title of the waiver.  Plaintiff alleged that 75 Pa. C.S. §1731(c) was violated due to the addition of the “s” in the word “motorists”.  A Motion for Summary Judgment was filed and granted in favor of the insurer, Bristol West Insurance Group.

Plaintiff relied on the Superior Court’s Opinion of American International Insurance Co. v. Vaxmonsky, 916 A.2d 1106 (Pa. Super. 2006) to argue that the flaw in the rejection form rendered the form void due to a failure to specifically comply.  The Superior Court distinguished Vaxmonsky, noting that the Bristol West form tracks the statutory language, except for an “extraordinarily minor typo” which had no impact on an otherwise perfectly drafted form.  Accordingly, the Superior Court found that the rejection form specifically complied with the requirements of §1731 and held that the rejection was valid.  Since the rejection of UIM benefits was valid, the Court held that UIM benefits were not recoverable and summary judgment in favor of the insurer was affirmed.

James W. Watson

Office: King Of Prussia
Phone: (610) 977-4108
Email: jwatson@forryullman.com
Practice Areas:  Bad Faith, Commercial Litigation, Coverage, General Liability, Premises Liability, Products Liability, Third Party, UM/UIM