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MATTHEW W. HALLOWELL v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (04/02/87)

decided: April 2, 1987.

MATTHEW W. HALLOWELL, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, RESPONDENT. NATIONWIDE MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, RESPONDENT. STATE FARM MUTUAL AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE COMPANY, PETITIONER V. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, GEORGE F. GRODE, INSURANCE COMMISSIONER, RESPONDENTS



Appeals from the Orders of the Insurance Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, in case of In Re: Appeal of Matthew W. and Jessica Hallowell, 1082 Stump Road, Chalfont, PA 18914, File No. 85-264-08426, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Policy Nos. 58 B 327 529 and 58 B 133 068, Docket No. PH85-10-10, dated May 27, 1986, and in case of In Re: Appeal of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, One State Farm Drive, Concordville, PA 19339, File No. 86-303-00598, Insureds: Richard and Barbara Sauers, Policy No. 437 9804 C19 38A, dated September 19, 1986.

COUNSEL

Joseph J. Witiw, Guerrelli & Witiw, for petitioner and intervenor, Matthew W. Hallowell and Jessica Hallowell.

Diane M. Tokarsky, with her, Jeffrey B. Clay and H. Lee Roussel, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for petitioner, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.

Robert E. Kelly, Jr., Duane, Morris & Heckscher, Of Counsel: James R. Tuite, for petitioner, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.

Regina L. Matz, Assistant Counsel, with her, Linda J. Wells, Chief of Litigation and M. Hannah Leavitt, Chief Counsel, for respondents.

Judges Colins and Palladino, and Senior Judge Kalish, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Colins. Judge Palladino concurs in the result only.

Author: Colins

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 145]

Matthew Hallowell and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (Nationwide) have each appealed an order of the Insurance Commissioner (Commissioner) which upheld Nationwide's non-renewal of Matthew's automobile insurance policy and which directed Nationwide to renew the automobile insurance policy of Matthew's wife, Jessica Hallowell. Consolidated with these appeals is that of State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company (State Farm), which seeks review of the Commissioner's order directing it to reinstate the automobile insurance policy of Barbara and Richard Sauers.

Throughout 1983 and 1985, Jessica and Matthew Hallowell each owned or leased a separate car, and each

[ 105 Pa. Commw. Page 146]

    such vehicle was insured under a separate policy in the name of the owner or lessee. In September 1983, Jessica "rear ended" another vehicle, as a result of which Nationwide paid a claim exceeding $500 to the owner of the other vehicle. Matthew had a one car accident in February 1983, purportedly as a result of swerving to avoid an unidentified vehicle coming out of a side street, and he had another one car accident in December, 1984, when he allegedly swerved to avoid striking an oncoming bicyclist while driving across a wooden bridge. As a result of the first accident, Nationwide paid over $1300 for the damage to Matthew Hallowell's vehicle and $2700 to settle his uninsured motorist claim for the injuries he sustained. Nationwide paid over $16,000 for the damage Matthew's vehicle sustained when it struck the bridge in the second accident.

In August 1985, Nationwide sent notices to the Hallowells that their respective automobile insurance policies would not be renewed. Each notice cited the accidents of February 1983, September 1983 and December 1984 as the reason for non-renewal. After the Insurance Department upheld the non-renewals, the Hallowells appealed to the Commissioner, resulting in the order challenged here.

Matthew Hallowell contends that the accidents in which he was involved should be exempt from consideration as a basis for non-renewal pursuant to the provisions of Section 3(a) of the Automobile Insurance Act (Act), Act of ...


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