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PENNSYLVANIA ASSIGNED RISK PLAN v. GEORGE F. GRODE ET AL. (06/05/87)

decided: June 5, 1987.

PENNSYLVANIA ASSIGNED RISK PLAN, PETITIONER
v.
GEORGE F. GRODE ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Original Jurisdiction in case of Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan by State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company; Allstate Insurance Company; Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company; Prudential Property and Casualty Company; Travelers Indemnity Company; Aetna Casualty and Surety Company; Erie Insurance Company; and Pennsylvania National Mutual Casualty Company as Trustees Ad Litem v. George F. Grode, in his capacity as Insurance Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Metropolitan Property and Liability Insurance Company, Metropolitan General Insurance Company, and Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company.

COUNSEL

Lewis R. Olshin, with him, Robert L. Pratter and Jane Dalton Elliott, Duane, Morris & Heckscher, for petitioner.

Jean M. Callihan, Assistant Counsel, with her, Linda Wells, Chief of Litigation, and M. Hannah Leavitt, Chief Counsel, for respondent, Insurance Department.

Harvey Bartle, III, with him, Lawrence A. Serlin, Dechert, Price & Rhoads, for respondents, Metropolitan Property and Liability Insurance Company, Metropolitan General Insurance Company and Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company.

Judges Doyle and Barry, and Senior Judge Barbieri, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Doyle.

Author: Doyle

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 474]

The Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Plan (Plan), by State Farm Insurance Company and other insurers writing automobile insurance in Pennsylvania*fn1 as trustees ad litem, has filed an amended petition for review in our original jurisdiction against the Insurance Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Insurance Commissioner) and Metropolitan Property and Liability Insurance Company, Metropolitan General Insurance Company and Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company (Metropolitan), seeking a declaratory judgment declaring a certain paragraph of a consent order entered by this Court in litigation between the Insurance Commissioner and Metropolitan to be null and void and, therefore, unenforceable. Before us presently are preliminary objections of both the Insurance Commissioner and Metropolitan to the Plan's amended petition for review in the nature of a demurrer and raising questions of jurisdiction. We will overrule the preliminary objections.

The Plan is an incorporated association of motor vehicle insurers within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania created pursuant to Section 1741 of the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (Law), 75 Pa. C.S. ยง 1741. The purpose of the Plan is to provide for "equitable apportionment" among Pennsylvania motor vehicle liability insurers of "applicants for motor vehicle liability insurance who are entitled to, but are unable to, procure insurance through ordinary methods," and all motor vehicle liability insurers are required to participate in the Plan. Id. Pursuant to rules (Plan Rules)

[ 106 Pa. Commw. Page 475]

    adopted by the Insurance Department, the Plan is managed by a Governing Committee composed of insurance industry representatives.

In April 1986, allegedly due to severe present and anticipated financial losses in the automobile insurance business in the Commonwealth, Metropolitan informed the Insurance Commissioner that it intended not to renew its Certificate of Authority to write automobile insurance in Pennsylvania. In response, the Insurance Commissioner on April 9, 1986 summarily ordered Metropolitan not to withdraw. Metropolitan then filed a petition for review in this Court seeking to reverse the order and to be permitted to withdraw.

While the suit was pending, Metropolitan on April 23, 1986, explained its position to the Governing Committee of the Plan and advised it of the litigation with the Insurance Commission. Pursuant to a Plan Rule,*fn2 the Governing Committee voted to suspend assignments to Metropolitan. In a letter dated April 29, 1986, the Governing Committee advised Metropolitan that it would "suspend assignments to Metropolitan until the Committee's July meeting. However, if the pending court action is concluded prior to the July meeting, the Committee will take ...


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