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Insurers fight over PIP benefits goes to Court of Appeals where judgment is affirmed because "principal driver" was not a named insured.

Keith Palmer was forced to sue Citizens Insurance and State Farm in order to procure No Fault PIP benefits (wages, medical and replacement services) after he was hurt in a car accident.  Citizens ended up paying more than $400,000.00 in benefits and secured a judgment for repayment by State Farm.  State Farm then appealed, but the judgment was affirmed.

Sadly, underlying the judgment was the Court's determination that Sarah Reynolds was not a "named insured" under the Citizens policy on the Saturn automobile that her parents insured through State Farm.  Because the policy on the Saturn showed Sarah's parents as the "named insureds" and not Sarah, she was deemed not to be an insured owner of the car--even though her name was on the title and she was identified in the policy as the principal driver; since her parents were not on the title, they were not "owners" and therefore Citizens was not required to provide the coverage that it charged premiums to provide.  State Farm ended up assigned to cover the risk and pay the expenses that would normally be allocated to the insurer of the owner of the "motor vehicle involved in the collision."

Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
309 East Front Street
Traverse City, Michigan 49684
Toll Free: 1-800-678-1307
Fax: 231-929-7262