Insurance Waiver • Underinsured Coverage and Benefits • Motor Vehicle

Evodio Rosas-Ramirez v. Bristol West Ins. Co., PICS Case No. 13-3385 (C.P. Philadelphia May 2013) Rau, J. (12 pages).

Appellant Evodio Rosas-Ramirez appealed the dismissal of his complaint with prejudice and motion for reconsideration. The appeal is denied.

Rosas-Ramirez held an insurance policy granted by Appellees Bristol West Insurance Company and Foremost Insurance Group, when he was involved in a motor-vehicle accident on or about June 22, 2012. Rosas-Ramirez filed a complaint for underinsured motorist protection and bad faith because appellees denied Rosas-Ramirez’s claim for UIM protection stating benefits were denied when Rosas-Ramirez was injured and where the tortfeasor was underinsured as provided in the insurance waiver provision. Rosas-Ramirez stated he signed a waiver of coverage titled “Rejection of Underinsured Motorists Protection” and claimed the form was invalid because of the error in the title did not conform precisely with 75 Pa.C.S.A. §1731(c.1). Rosas-Ramirez claimed the extra “s” in “Motorists” invalidated the form. Besides the typographical error in the waiver provision title, the remainder of the provision and the form did not include the extra “s” and complied with §1731.

Appellees argued that the signing of the waiver rejected UIM coverage, and said rejection was valid and enforceable. As such, Rosas-Ramirez’s cause of action failed. The court agreed that a minor typographical error in title, with no error in the body of the waiver, did not invalidate the waiver and complied with §1731. Rosas-Ramirez appealed the court’s decision.

The appellate court upheld the dismissal of the complaint arguing that the Pennsylvania courts’ interpretation requiring specific language for an insured’s waiver of coverage is to ensure the individual was not confused by the language and that no ambiguity existed. Here, the additional “s” did not create confusion or change the meaning of the provision, and therefore complied with §1731. As Rosas-Ramirez could not state a cause of action for UIM benefits or bad faith, the insurance waiver is valid and the dismissal of the complaint is upheld.

Appellees Bristol West Insurance Company and Foremost Insurance Company appealed the prior court’s ruling that a typographical error (“Motorists” instead of “Motorist”) rendered the insurance waiver invalid and unenforceable. The appeal is denied.