On Tuesday, June 9, a Superior Court panel ruled in favor of the insurer in Rawl v. Geico Indemnity Co., a case involving the “regular use” exclusion to UIM coverage, where the Philadelphia Association of Defense Counsel (and the Pennsylvania Defense Institute) filed a friend of the court brief. In this case, the plaintiff regularly used a company vehicle for his daily work. But one or two days before he was invilved in an accident, the specific vehicle he had been driving went to the shop, and his employer rented a replacement vehicle for the plaintiff’s use. The insurer denied the UIM claim, on the basis of the “regular use” exclusion, because the plaintiff was driving a company vehicle, which was his regular practice. The plaintiff countered that the vehicle he was operating at the time of the accident had not, in fact, been made “regularly” available to him, because he only began using it a day or two prior. Picking upon its prior decision in Brink v. Erie Ins. Group, 940 A.2d 528 (Pa. Super. 2008), which held that the “regular use” exclusion properly barred coverage for a plaintiff injured in a “fleet vehicle,” even though the plaintiff may have driven a different specific vehicle each day, the Panel in Rawl held that the employer’s temporary rental of a replacement vehicle triggered application of the “regular use” exclusion, and barred coverage. “Stated simply,” the Rawl decision states, “it does not matter whether Mr. Rawl had regular use of a particular vehicle furnished by his employer, but whether he regularly used a vehicle supplied by his employer.”
Please click here to view the court's opinion.