No. 2630 PHILADELPHIA, 1982, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Delaware County, No. 80-17491.
John M. Kenney, Media, for appellant.
Roger J. Harrington, Philadelphia, for appellee.
Cavanaugh, Montemuro and Hester, JJ.
[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 408]
This is an appeal from a Judgment and Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, which modified an arbitration panel's award to appellant based on a fleet vehicle policy of insurance issued by appellee, General Accident Fire and Life Assurance Corporation (hereinafter, General Accident) to appellant's employer, Upper Darby Township. The issue before us is whether an employee can cumulate or "stack" the uninsured motorist coverage under his employer's fleet vehicle insurance policy.
The facts are undisputed and are as follows. On May 11, 1978, appellant was employed as a police officer for Upper Darby Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. On this date, while on duty and seated in a police vehicle owned by the Township, appellant sustained bodily injuries when the vehicle in which he was seated was struck by a hit and run
[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 409]
vehicle.*fn1 At the time of the accident, appellee General Accident was the insurance carrier for the fleet of vehicles owned by Upper Darby Township and used by its police department.
The insurance policy in question is a single policy covering 175 vehicles. The policy provides uninsured motorist coverage with limits of liability of "fifteen thousand dollars each person/thirty thousand dollars each accident". The limits of liability section provides:
Regardless of the number of (1) persons or organizations who are insureds under this policy, (2) persons who sustain bodily injury, (3) claims made or suits brought on account of bodily injury, or (4) highway vehicles to which this policy applies,
(a) The limit of liability stated in the declarations as applicable to "each person" is the limit of the company's liability for all damages because of bodily injury sustained by one person as the result of any one accident and, subject to the above provision respecting "each person", the limit of liability stated in the declarations as applicable to "each accident" is the total limit of the company's liability for all damages because of bodily injury sustained by two or more persons as the result of any one accident.
Upper Darby Township paid a premium for this uninsured motorist coverage of $4.00 for each vehicle for an annual total of $760.00 for the fleet of 175 vehicles.*fn2
Pursuant to its interpretation of the policy, General Accident offered appellant the amount of $15,000.00. This amount reflected General Accident's belief that this was the maximum benefit due under the uninsured motorist provision of its contract with Upper Darby Township. Appellant refused to accept this offer in full settlement of his claim,
[ 328 Pa. Super. Page 410]
contending instead that he was entitled to cumulate or "stack" the uninsured motorist coverage of each of the 175 vehicles under the fleet policy. As a result of the impasse, appellant requested arbitration by the American Arbitration Association, ...