Insurance policy not contrary to code

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After a policyholder was involved in a automobile accident in Virginia while driving a rental car owned by Enterprise Leasing (“Enterprise”), Safe Auto Insurance Company (“Safe Auto”) filed a complaint for declaratory judgment in Adams Circuit Court arguing its policyholder was not driving a covered vehicle, and therefore, there was no coverage under the Safe Auto policy. Enterprise then moved for summary judgment asserting that Safe Auto’s policy language excluding coverage for leased vehicles is void because it is contrary to Indiana Code section 27-8-9-9. The trial court agreed and entered summary judgment in favor of Enterprise. Safe Auto appeals and argues that there is no conflict between the statute and its policy provision.
Conclusion (slip op. at 2):  We conclude that while Safe Auto’s extraordinarily limited coverage for leased vehicles is unusual at the very least, this limited coverage is not in conflict with state statute. Accordingly, the trial court erred when it granted Enterprise’s motion for summary judgment and we reverse and remand for proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 7-8):  Harrison never agreed in writing to provide insurance coverage for the Enterprise truck . . . because section 27-8-9-9 applies only when the lessee agrees to provide insurance coverage, we conclude that the statute is not applicable to the circumstances presented in this appeal . . . Even if section 27-8-9-9 applied, we would not conclude that Safe Auto’s policy language is unenforceable. As our courts and the 7th Circuit have noted, section 27-8-9-9 simply sets forth a rule to determine which insurance policy provides primary coverage where concurrent policies exist. Safe Auto’s policy language excluding coverage for rental vehicles in certain circumstances does not run afoul of the plain language of the statute.

About Bose McKinney & Evans LLP

Bose McKinney & Evans LLP is a business law firm, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, serving both publicly held and privately held businesses, governmental entities and high-growth industries. Our clients include Fortune 100 companies, international manufacturers, national and regional financial institutions, agribusinesses, sports teams, university-incubated start-ups, media, utilities, cities and schools, to name a few. We strive to build strong relationships with our clients as key business advisors, to exceed expectations in the quality of our work, to be knowledgeable about our clients’ businesses and sectors, to be responsive to service needs and to continually seek to improve the delivery of client services. Our ultimate focus is on our clients.
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