Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner in the case of In Re: Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Docket No. R84-3-1.
M. Landon Spencer, with him, George D. Sheehan, Jr., Sweeney, Sheehan, & Spencer, for petitioner.
Arthur Selikoff, with him, Beth C. Sheligo, Linda S. Kaiser, Assistant Counsel, and Paul Laskow, Chief Counsel, for respondent.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry and Colins. Opinion by Judge Colins. Judge Barry concurs in the result only.
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 621]
Prudential Property and Casualty Insurance Company (petitioner) here appeals an order of the Insurance Commissioner of Pennsylvania (Commissioner) which affirmed a decision of the Insurance Department of Pennsylvania disapproving petitioner's policy form filings deleting or modifying the uninsured motorist arbitration clause. The Commissioner's order was based on his conclusion that the regulation found at 31 Pa. Code § 63.2(a) required the arbitration clause which petitioner sought to delete or modify be a part of an automobile insurance policy providing uninsured motorist coverage.
Petitioner raises two issues for our consideration: (1) whether the Insurance Department has the authority to promulgate a regulation requiring an arbitration clause in an insurance contract pursuant to § 2000 of what is commonly referred to as the Uninsured Motorist Clause Act (Act), Act of August 14, 1963, P.L. 909, as amended, 40 P.S. § 2000; and, if so, (2) whether such a mandatory arbitration clause is unconstitutional because it denies the parties the right to a jury. We will consider each issue in turn.
Section 2000 of the Act provides:
(a) No motor vehicle liability policy of insurance insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury or death suffered by any person arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle shall be delivered or issued for delivery in this State
[ 99 Pa. Commw. Page 622]
with respect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this State, unless coverage is provided therein or supplemental thereto in limits for bodily injury or death as are fixed from time to time by the General Assembly . . . under provisions approved by the Insurance Commissioner, for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death resulting therefrom. . . .
(Emphasis added.) The General Assembly thus provided for the Commissioner to approve uninsured motorist coverage provisions in insurance contracts. While it is true that the Act does not grant the Commissioner or the Insurance Department any specific power to promulgate regulations, we have recognized that there is an implied power in a public administrative agency to make or adopt regulations with respect to matters within the province of such agency, provided such regulations are not inconsistent with law. Pennsylvania Association of Life ...