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APPEAL MICHAEL J. TABAS PURSUANT TO ACT NO. 78 1968 ETC. (04/12/84)

decided: April 12, 1984.

IN RE: APPEAL OF MICHAEL J. TABAS PURSUANT TO ACT NO. 78 OF 1968 ETC.


Appeal from the Order of the Insurance Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in case of In Re: Appeal of Michael J. Tabas, pursuant to Act No. 78 of 1968 (P.L. 140), as amended by Act No. 248 of 1978 (40 P.S. ยง 1008), Docket No. PH 80-5-5.

COUNSEL

Michael J. Tabas, appellant, for himself.

Hannah Leavitt, Assistant Attorney General, with her Anthony Geyelin, Assistant Attorney General, and LeRoy S. Zimmerman, Attorney General, for appellee.

Judges Rogers, Palladino and Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Palladino.

Author: Palladino

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 528]

Michael J. Tabas (Petitioner) appeals from an order of the Insurance Commission upholding the non-renewal of Petitioner's automobile insurance by Sentry Insurance A Mutual Company (Insurer). We affirm.

Under the Automobile Insurance Act (Act),*fn1 an insurer may not refuse to renew an automobile insurance policy on the basis of one accident within the three year period preceding the renewal date. This reflects a legislative intent to permit a refusal to renew on the basis of more than one accident.

We have before us the question of what constitutes an accident for purposes of non-renewal under Section

[ 81 Pa. Commw. Page 5293]

(a)(13)(vi) of the Act. This section prohibits non-renewal on the basis of an accident "involving damage by contact with animals or fowl."*fn2 This is a case of first impression.

We note that our scope of review here is limited to a determination of whether constitutional rights were violated, errors of law were committed or findings of fact were not supported by substantial evidence. Travelers Indemnity Company of America v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Insurance Department, 63 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 542, 440 A.2d 645 (1981).

In this case, the Insurer based its decision not to renew on Petitioner's two accidents. Petitioner argues that one of his accidents is exempt from consideration by the Insurer under Section 3(a)(13)(vi), because it involved contact with an animal.*fn3 If the second accident is exempt, then the Insurer could not refuse to renew Petitioner's policy solely on the basis of Petitioner's one accident.

The accident in question occurred when Petitioner swerved to avoid hitting a dog and ran into a parked car. Petitioner also grazed the dog, which ran away. ...


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