Court resolves three insurers' dispute over who must pay PIP benefits
Muhamed Besic, an overland truck driver, was hurt in an Ohio car accident. He had purchased no fault coverage for his family vehicles from Citizens and bobtail coverage for his truck from Clearwater Insurance Company. He was hauling a trailer under contract with MGR Express, which purchased insurance from Lincoln General Insurance. Clearwater's contract provided that it would not provide coverage in any circumstance where the truck was "under dispatch" as was the case at the time of this collision. Relying on that provision, Clearwater argued that it did not owe Besic's PIP benefits.
The Court noted, however, that the Clearwater policy clearly provided PIP coverage through an endorsement that applied whenever there was no other coverage. Since the Lincoln General policy on the trailer did not provide coverage by its terms, and since that policy was written in Illinois, not Michigan, Lincoln General's policy would only provide PIP benefits in the event of a Michigan accident. Under Ohio and Illinois law, Lincoln General's coverage exclusion was enforceable, rendering PIP benefits payable to Besic under the straightforward language of Clearwater's PIP endorsement. Further, Citizens Insurance was not implicated in the payment of PIP benefits because Clearwater wrote the policy that covered the involved vehicle.