Post & Schell Principals Bryan Shay and Jeffrey Brenner Author Amicus Brief in Support of Insurer’s Successful Third Circuit Appeal
In a precedential opinion issued on April 8, 2021 in Gibson v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, No. 20-1589 (3d Cir. April 8, 2021), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that the application signed by the insureds when they purchased an automobile insurance policy was sufficient to qualify as the “writing” necessary to elect reduced UM/UIM policy limits.
Post & Schell Insurance Law Principals Bryan M. Shay and Jeffrey M. Brenner authored an Amicus Curiae Brief on behalf of the Pennsylvania Defense Institute (PDI), which supported the insurer’s successful appeal.
According to the Third Circuit’s unanimous decision, the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL) does not require an insured to sign a separate “sign-down” form in order to elect UM/UIM policy limits in an amount less than the bodily injury liability policy limit. The Third Circuit explained that the language of the insurer’s insurance application—which identified UM/UIM limits that were less than the bodily injury liability limits elected by the plaintiffs—was sufficient, even though its application referenced a separate “sign-down” form.
The Third Circuit’s decision as to the “writing” necessary to elect reduced UM/UIM limits provides substantial clarity for providers of automobile insurance in Pennsylvania.