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The UM / UIM charter is fulfilled by the offer



Florida's charter for uninsured / underinsured drivers, as well as similar charter nationwide, require an insured to offer UM / UIM coverage equal to the amount of third party liability insurance provided. However, the charter does not require the insured to purchase the entire cover. In Maria Theresa Guaniro Zamora, Alex Tantalean, Cecilia Delgado, Sonia Carranza v. Ace American Insurance Company No. 20-10476, United States Court of Appeal for the Eleventh Circle (September 23, 2020) Eleventh Circuit was asked to force an insurance company to provide limits that were not ordered by the insured.

FACTS

Maria Theresa Guaniro Zamora, Alamo Rent-A-Car customer, purchased insurance from Ace American Insurance Company. Zamora's insurance included $ 1

00,000 in surplus of uninsured / underinsured motor vehicle coverage (UM / UIM) issued by Ace to the said insured, Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Zamora denied additional surplus of UM / UIM coverage beyond the limits set forth in Enterprise Holdings policy with Ace.

Florida statutes require insurers to provide limits on excess UM coverage up to the limits of personal injury liability contained in such insurance or $ 1 million, whichever is lower. After an uninsured / underinsured motorist and Zamora were involved in an accident with serious injuries, Zamora demanded payment. Ace replied that only $ 100,000 in excess UM / UIM coverage was available.

The district court granted Ace's request for summary judgment and denied Zamoras, claiming that Ace complied with the charter because: (1) Ace offered surplus UM coverage to his name insured, Enterprise Holdings and (2) the rental car customer, Zamora, signed a rental agreement. which accepts the terms of Enterprise Holding's excessive UM coverage.

ANALYSIS

The Florida Statute governs the extent to which motor liability insurance policies delivered or issued for delivery in Florida must make uninsured motor vehicle coverage available. Neither party disputes that the applicable provision of the Charter here provides: '[A] an insurer issuing [an excess motor vehicle] insurance shall be made available as part of the application for such insurance, and at the written request of an insured, [of excess UM coverage] limits up to the limits for liability claims included in such insurance or $ 1 million, whichever is the lower. Florida courts have interpreted "make available" in the charter as "offer."

Enterprise Holdings, faces (1) completely dismissing excess UM coverage, (2) choosing $ 100,000 coverage, or (3) choosing $ 1,000,000 from

The majority of courts that have considered the question of who may question the lack of an insurable interest considers that only the insurer can raise the objection of lack of an insurable interest. .

Zamora signed a lease agreement that "OWNERS AND LESSORS REFUSE ALL ADDITIONAL UM / UIM COVERAGE TO THE LEGAL PERMIT." This refusal established that an offer had been made and rejected. As a result, that charter was fulfilled because Ace offered the insured customer, Zamora, the opportunity to either (1) accept $ 100,000 in excess of UM / UIM coverage by signing the lease, or (2) choose a higher excess of UM / UIM coverage by rejecting the lease. Ace & # 39 ;s offer was entirely in line with the way courts have interpreted the Charter, which requires an insurer with excessive liability to at least inform its insured about the possibility of obtaining a surplus of UM / UIM coverage. According to the charter, only one issuer of a non-primary policy must notify an applicant of the availability of UM / UIM coverage.

ACE's policy with Enterprise Holdings, and the terms that Zamora incorporated into the lease, included surplus of UM coverage of $ 100,000. Surplus insurer Ace offered excess UM coverage to the said insured Enterprise; the said insured simply chose to purchase the lower limit of the insurance. The eleventh lane concluded that Ace consequently complied with the statute, § 627,727 (2) and the district court's holding was confirmed.

Everyone seems to want to pay the lowest premium offered and will accept low liability limits since they believe they will never be harmed and do not need the exceeding limits which – of course – cost more than the higher limits. Then, when a person is injured, they want to get the money they need, so they sue the insurance company and say they were allowed to get more money by claiming violations of bylaws. Sometimes it works. In this case, Maria Theresa Guaniro Zamora's attempt failed.


© 2020 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to employment as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance management, insurance shortages and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and insurers. He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com.

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