Appeal from Order of the Court of Common Pleas, Civil Division, of Philadelphia County, No. 3672 October Term, 1987.
Dennis Veneziale, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Lee Albert, Philadelphia, for appellees.
Wieand, Montemuro and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 384 Pa. Super. Page 399]
This is an appeal from an order refusing to vacate an arbitration award entered on an underinsured motorist claim. After careful review, we conclude that arbitration in Philadelphia County was improper and in contravention of the terms of the arbitration agreement which specifically provided for arbitration exclusively in the county in which the insured resided.
On November 22, 1985, Morton Shapiro, a resident of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was injured in an automobile accident on Route 73, near Interstate 295, in Camden County, New Jersey. The third-party tortfeasor was insured under a policy of automobile insurance having a limit of liability of fifteen thousand ($15,000) dollars. The third party's carrier paid its policy limits to Shapiro. Shapiro's vehicle was insured under an automobile policy which had been issued by Keystone Insurance Company (Keystone), through its New Jersey Office. The policy contained underinsured motorist coverage. Claims for such benefits were subject to arbitration according to the following clause of the policy:
If we and a covered person do not agree:
1. Whether that person is legally entitled to recover damages under this endorsement; or
2. As to the amount of damages;
either party may make a written demand for arbitration. In this event, each party will select an arbitrator. The two arbitrators ...