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Posts from the ‘Insurance Coverage’ Category

The Three Million Dollar Question: Are Method of Service and Proof of Service Synonymous?

Western District Court of Appeals finds that Plaintiffs Failed to Prove Proper Service Upon Insurer Before Taking Default Judgment

On April 29, 2014, the Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed a Boone County trial judge’s order setting aside a three million dollar default judgment more than two years after the default judgment was entered. The Plaintiffs, Ray Charles and Sue Bate, were parties injured in a motor vehicle accident. They sued the insurer of Ray Charles Bates’ employer, Greenwich, alleging that he was entitled to underinsured motorist benefits under the employer’s policy. Plaintiffs attempted to serve Greenwich pursuant to the process set forth in R.S.Mo. §375.906. A sheriff served a copy of the Plaintiff’s lawsuit against Greenwich upon an agent of the Missouri Department of Insurance. That agent then mailed the lawsuit to Greenwich using regular, first class mail which did not provide any verification that Greenwich would be actually served with the lawsuit. Read more

Missouri Law Quick FAQ – A Few Handy Reminders and References for Missouri Law Questions

Some issues frequently arise in most any matter.  It is helpful to have a quick primer or FAQ (frequently asked questions) with answers to these persistent legal questions. For claims adjusters, lawyers or litigants with cases pending in Missouri, there may well be questions about legal issues that will inevitably arise in your case. The following provides a quick reference guide to several of those issues.  Do not hesitate to contact us with questions as to how these, or other issues, impact a particular situation. Of course, these factors will not always apply to every case, as, there are inevitably peculiar facts in each situation which may well alter the outcome, so these are just general principles which you can use as a reference guide. Read more

Uninsured Motorist Offsets: When is the Insurer Entitled to a Setoff?

A setoff provision in a policy of automobile insurance seeks to reduce coverage by amounts recovered by the insured from other insurance.  In the context of uninsured motorist (UM) and underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage, a setoff provision most often seeks to reduce any amount payable under such coverages by all sums paid by or on behalf of the legally responsible tortfeasor.  Setoff language is commonly found in the “Limit of Liability” section of the particular coverage. Read more

Stacking of Commercial and Personal Policies in Missouri and Illinois

The stacking of policies refers to the practice of combining insurance coverage limits to account for more than one vehicle insured under a multi-car policy, or under separate policies of insurance.  Stacking has been the subject of many appellate decisions in recent years, particularly in the context of underinsured motorist coverage.  Although the great majority of policies contain language that seeks to preclude the stacking of coverage (appropriately termed “anti-stacking” provisions), such language is not uncommonly deemed ambiguous by courts and rendered unenforceable so to permit stacking of certain coverages. Read more