Injured woman cannot collect underinsured motorist benefits from her insurer
Catherine Anton sued National Union Fire Insurance Company, arguing that she was entitled to collect $300,000.00 in underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) from the insurer of her GM-owned car.
She was badly hurt when the car was broad-sided by another car in a Michigan accident. The car was provided to her husband, a GM executive, by his employer and was insured under a multi-state policy covering numerous vehicles.
In an attempt to write a single policy that would be applicable in various states with contradictory legal requirements, the policy utilized various codes and symbols to denote coverage. The Antons claimed that when these coverages were analyzed, they provided UIM coverage: their argument was buttressed by the fact that the policy expressly excluded this coverage only for the State of Ohio.
Judge Richard Suhrheinrich, a long-time Michigan insurance defense attorney and one of the most anti-consumer jurists on the Sixth Circuit, wrote an opinion denying the Antons' claim for UIM benefits. Suhrheinrich managed to conclude--after 10 pages of explanation--that there was no ambiguity in the complicated policy and that it clearly excluded coverage for UIM benefits in Michigan (even though it purported not to include Michigan PIP benefits--but under the law does, in fact, provide them).