Thomas v. McDermitt

Petitioners, who had a liability policy with State Farm, were involved in a motor vehicle accident. Petitioners filed an underinsured motorist claim with State Farm. Based on the absence of underinsurance coverage in Petitioners' policy, State Farm denied coverage. Petitioners filed a complaint against State Farm, asserting that a "knowing and intelligent" waiver of underinsurance coverage had not occurred. The circuit court granted Petitioners' motion for partial summary judgment, concluding (1) State Farm's underinsured motorist selection/rejection form did not precisely comply with the state Insurance Commissioner's prescribed form; and (2) State Farm's failure to use the Commissioner's prescribed forms resulted in underinsured motorists coverage being added to the policy as a matter of law. The Supreme Court answered the circuit court's certified question by holding that an insurance company's failure to use the Commissioner's prescribed forms pursuant to W. Va. Code 33-6-31(d) results in the loss of the statutory presumption that the insured provided a reasonable offer which was knowingly rejected and a reversion to the lower standards set forth in Bias v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. View "Thomas v. McDermitt" on Justia Law