In Bielec v. Verizon Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia County judge held a commercial auto UIM rejection form was void because it was executed improperly by Verizon. The court then held that even if the Court were to hold the improperly completed form was valid, “… we believe an employer who fails to notify its employee driver that UIM coverage has been rejected is acting against public policy.” This means the employee must be notified so that he can then choose to purchase UIM coverage himself or waive UIM coverage. It also means that all employees would need to be so notified and have the right to choose their option! This was a radical holding by a judge without precedent and who is apparently unconcerned about the impractical implications of his holdings.

On appeal, a Superior Court panel on December 26, 2017 held 2-1 that “Although Verizon’s authorized representative signed and dated on each line immediately following the untitled paragraph indicating she had made selection(s),” she failed to sign on the line immediately following as required by case law and statute to indicate explicit waiver of coverage. Such omission created an ambiguity. As a result, Verizon did not validly waive UIM coverage.” The panel did not address the public policy issue in its holding. Attached are the majority and dissenting opinions.

Verizon and their insurer plan to seek re-argument on both issues. The case involves significant issues to our auto insurer clients.