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UNITED NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY v. PHILADELPHIA GAS WORKS (03/24/72)

decided: March 24, 1972.

UNITED NATIONAL INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
PHILADELPHIA GAS WORKS



Appeal from judgment of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, July T., 1970, No. 756, in case of United National Insurance Company v. Philadelphia Gas Works, Division of United Gas Improvement Company (or U.G.I. Corp.) a/k/a Philadelphia Gas Works of the City of Philadelphia operated by U.G.I. Corporation and City of Philadelphia.

COUNSEL

Richard S. March, with him Galfand, Berger, Senesky & Lurie, for appellant.

Henry J. Donner, with him Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, Levy & Coleman, for appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Hoffman, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. Opinion by Cercone, J.

Author: Cercone

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 162]

In this action of assumpsit, appellant, United National Insurance Company, hereinafter referred to as "United", seeks to recover a sum of money, from its insured, the appellee, Philadelphia Gas Works, which United paid to four claimants for injuries sustained in an automobile accident caused by the negligent operation

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 163]

    of a motor vehicle rented by the Philadelphia Gas Works and driven by one of its agents. The automobile was rented from Discount Rent-A-Car Company, hereinafter referred to as "Discount", and subject to United's insurance policy, which provided, inter alia, as follows: "Other insurance: The insurance under this policy shall be excess insurance over any other valid and collectible insurance available to the insured, either as an insured under another policy or otherwise."

United contends that Philadelphia Gas Works had other valid and collectible insurance either as an insured or "otherwise" at the time of the accident by reason of a certificate of self-insurance issued to it by the Secretary of Revenue of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pursuant to Article XIV of The Pennsylvania Vehicle Code, entitled, "Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Provisions", 75 P.S. ยงยง 1401, 1434. United alleges that under the certificate of self-insurance Philadelphia Gas Works assured the Secretary of Revenue that it could pay all damages arising out of an accident for which it was responsible, and thus, under its policy United is only obliged to pay damages in excess of Philadelphia Gas Works' liability. United therefore concludes that since there is no stated limit in the certificate, United has no excess liability.

Philadelphia Gas Works, on the other hand, contends that the certificate of self-insurance is not an insurance policy or "otherwise" as contemplated in United's policy, and, that even if it were to be so considered, the certificate does not apply to the automobile rented by it, but pertains only to motor vehicles owned by it and registered in its name.

Cross-motions for summary judgment on the pleadings were filed and the lower court granted the motion of Philadelphia Gas Works and denied that of United, thus this appeal by United.

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 164]

The two questions to be determined ...


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