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An Auto Insurance Carrier Must Provide Stacked Underinsured Motorist (“UIM”) Coverage Because It Failed To Obtain A Signed UIM Stacking Waiver After A New Car Was Added To The Policy By Way Of An Amended Declarations Page

June 22nd, 2018

In Newhook v. Erie, No. 1917 EDA 2017 (April 25, 2018), a three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held in an unreported case that Erie was required to provide stacked underinsured motorist benefits because it added a new car to its policy by way of an endorsement, (an amended declarations page), and failed to obtain a signed waiver of stacking form from its insured.  In this case, Newhook purchased an automobile insurance policy from Erie in August 2007, covering three cars, for which he signed a valid waiver of stacking form.  Thereafter, Newhook added and removed several vehicles from the policy for which he signed valid waiver of stacking forms.  However, the last two vehicles that he added to the policy were added by way of an amended declarations page, but no waiver of staking form was obtained.

Newhook then made a claim for stacked underinsured motorist benefits.  Erie denied the claim arguing that no waiver of stacking form was required because its policy provided continuous underinsured motorist coverage for the added vehicles.  However, this three judge panel of the Pennsylvania Superior Court held that under Bumbarger v. Peerliess Indem., Ins. Co., 93 A.3d 872 (Pa. Super. 2014 (en banc), and Pergolese v. Stc. Fire Ins. Co., 162 A.3d 481 (Pa. Super. 2017), appeal denied, 172 A.3d 590, a signed waiver of stacking form was required when the cars were added to a policy by way of endorsement, regardless of whether the policy provided continuous underinsured motorist coverage to the added vehicles.

Before Panella, J., Lazarus, J., and Strassburger, J.  Memorandum by Lazarus, J.

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