In a case involving facts that it described as “a veritable ‘comedy of errors,’” a divided Pennsylvania Superior Court issued a warning to insurers handling Pennsylvania insurance claims: if the reservation of rights letter issued to your insured does not use at least some specificity when identifying the bases upon which indemnity coverage may be denied, you will be deemed to have waived the ability to disclaim indemnity coverage at a later date.
Since March 19, 2020, Pennsylvania businesses and individuals have been under substantial restrictions imposed by Governor Tom Wolf in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As these businesses now begin to see some relief from those restrictions, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Jessica Altman has issued a warning: Ignoring the Governor’s Orders and the provisions of the multi-tiered plan for relaxing some of those restrictions could result in a loss of liability insurance coverage.
Reminder for Claims Handlers During COVID-19 Pandemic: Compliance with PA Regulations to Timely Respond to Insureds is Critical
While many claims adjusters are accustomed to working from home, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are likely facing an increased volume of claims while simultaneously having to deal with less physical assistance from the home office. The following primer on the timeliness requirements of the Pennsylvania Unfair Insurance Practices Act (UIPA) and its related regulations - the Unfair Claim Settlement Practices Regulations (UCSPR) - is offered as helpful guidance during this difficult time.
Following the Third Circuit's ruling in Slupski v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co., Pennsylvania commercial auto insurers should take a careful look at whether valid rejection/reduction forms are in place before issuing policies with higher covered autos liability coverage limits than Uninsured Motorist and Underinsured MotoristÂ limits. They otherwise may be required to provide more than they bargained for in terms of coverage.
Pennsylvania's Highest Court Stacks the Odds Against Insurance Companies, Invalidating Household Exclusion in UM/UIM Policies
In its most recent pronouncement regarding the UM/UIM stacking provisions of the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania overturned decades of precedent by declaring the "household vehicle exclusion" found in most personal automobile policies to be void and unenforceable as a matter of law.
A recent opinion of the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania illustrates how operators will have to weigh the sometimes competing business and legal interests of protecting consumer/customer privacy, while also helping to combat trafficking and assault in the industry.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law Applies to Out-of-State Residents
In Danganan v. Guardian Protection Services, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided that the Commonwealth's Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law applies to purchasers who do not reside here. The impact of this decision will be far-reaching, extending not only to insurance companies but also to all businesses headquartered in and operating out of Pennsylvania.
Rancosky v. Washington National Insurance Co.: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Finally Rules on Test for Insurance Bad Faith; Holds That Proof of an Insurer's Motive of Self-Interest or Ill Will Is Not Required
In Rancosky v. Washington Nat'l Ins. Co. the Pennsylvania Supreme Court at long last ruled squarely on what must be proven to establish bad faith under 42 Pa. C.S.A. Â§8371, Pennsylvania's "bad faith statute," and, in doing so, held that proof of a motive of self-interest or ill will on the part of the insurer is not required.
PA Superior Court Parts with Eleventh Circuit on Annuity Payments Under the LHWCA; Issues Unanimous Memorandum in Favor of National Indemnity
In a unanimous memorandum opinion, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania parted ways with the Eleventh Circuit on January 27, 2017, holding that the Longshore Harbor Workers' Compensation Act (LHWCA) unequivocally bars any transfer or assignment of periodic payments from a structured settlement entered into under the Act. The opinion brings Pennsylvania in line with numerous other state trial courts on the question of whether the anti-assignment provisions of the LHWCA bar the sale of payments that originate under the Act.
Third Circuit Moves Pennsylvania Courts Closer to Viewing TCPA Violations as Uncovered Acts Under BOP and CGL Policies
In Auto-Owners Ins. Co. v. Stevens & Ricci, Inc., the Third Circuit predicted that the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, if given the opportunity, would find that Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) violations are not covered under Businessowners (BOP) or CGL policies as a TCPA violation is not an "occurrence," and does not cause an "advertising injury."