Failure To Comply With Pa.M.V.F.R.L. Renewal Notice Requirements Not Bad Faith, Pa. Federal Judge Rules

Pittsburgh, July 12th. A federal judge in the Western District of Pennsylvania recently granted summary Judgment to an auto insurer in a coverage and bad faith case, ruling that in the presence of a valid UM/UIM rejection by the insured, subsequent non-compliance with the renewal notice requirements of the Pa.M.V.F.R.L. neither provided the basis for policy reformation, nor a bad faith claim.

In a ruling by Magistrate Judge Kelly, adopted by Judge Hornak, the court found that the insurer’s failure to include a proper renewal notice regarding the rejection of UIM coverage was a violation of the MVFRL. It also found, however that such violations do not allow private civil remedy, beyond administrative review, and such a violation could neither form the basis of reformation of the policy, or of a bad faith cause of action

The court also found that since there had been a prior valid rejection of UM/UIM coverage by the insured, the claims adjuster’s denial of a claim for such benefits was objectively reasonable.

Keeler v. Esurance, U.S. District Court Western District of Pennsylvania No. 20-271 (W.D.Pa. July 12, 2021) (Kelly, M.J.) Link: https://www.govinfo.gov/app/details/USCOURTS-pawd-2_20-cv-00271/USCOURTS-pawd-2_20-cv-00271-0

Author: CJ Haddick

C.J. Haddick is a Director with the law firm of Dickie, McCamey, & Chilcote, PC, based in Pittsburgh, Pa. He has advised and represented insurers in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation for more than a quarter of a century, and written and spoken throughout the United States on insurance coverage and bad faith prevention and litigation. He is Managing Director of the firm's Harrisburg, Pa. office. Reach him at chaddick@dmclaw.com or 717-731-4800.

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