COA affirms ruling for insurer in UIM recovery case

An estate that secured more than $100,000 in settlements following a deadly car crash couldn’t convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that summary judgment should not have been granted to the deceased’s parents’ insurer.

After a roadside collision involving three vehicles led to the death of Shelina Glover Robinson, the woman’s estate filed a complaint against Allstate Property and Casualty Insurance Company. The complaint sought recovery under Shelina’s parents’ Allstate automobile insurance policy, which provided uninsured motorist coverage of $100,000 per person.

At the time of her death, Shelina had an auto insurance policy of her own through GEICO insurance.

Once a mediation agreement was signed by the estate and other parties, Allstate filed for summary judgment, arguing the mediation action resulted in payment to the estate for $75,000, while Shelina’s GEICO policy contained UIM limits of $25,000. The estate later admitted it had received settlements from various parties and insurance companies from the accident that led to Shelina’s death in amounts totaling $100,000 or more.

The Marion Superior Court entered summary judgment for Allstate “based solely on [Allstate’s] position regarding offsets,” but denied it with regard to the “question of notification.” In the estate’s appeal of that decision, the Indiana Court of Appeals found the estate was not entitled to more recovery under the policy because its UIM limit was reduced to zero after it received numerous payments totaling more than $100,000.

The panel further disagreed with the estate’s argument’s stemming from Am. Econ. Ins. Co. v. Motorists Mut. Ins. Co., 605 N.E.2d 162 (Ind. 1992), that the policy’s “legally responsible” language “only creates an offset for liability settlements,” and that anti-stacking provisions apply after offset provisions “to prevent the insureds from obtaining a total underinsured motorist recovery of more than the underinsured motorist policy limits.”

“We find that the limitations expressed in the Part 3 of the Policy are sufficiently different from those in the policy in Am. Econ. Ins. Co., and thus we do not construe the Policy to refer ‘only to sums from those directly liable for causing the injuries,’” Judge Elaine Brown wrote.

Lastly, the appellate panel declined to agree with the estate’s reliance on Wagner v. Yates, 912 N.E.2d 805 (Ind. 2009), finding that GEICO and American Family were not directly liable for the negligent acts of Kenneth Bogue and Matthew Hahn, two of the drivers involved in the fatal accident, by virtue of providing Shelina with UIM coverage under their policies.

“However, even though the UIM providers are not directly liable, we cannot say they are not legally responsible under the Policy,” it concluded.

The appellate court therefore affirmed in Steven Glover, As Personal Representative of The Estate of Shelina M. Glover v. Allstate Property And Casualty Insurance Company, 19A-CT-403.

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