Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Schuylkill County, Civil at No. S-1155-1988.
Edward F. Silva, Philadelphia, for appellant.
Michael O'Hayer, Paoli, for appellee.
Cavanaugh, Montemuro and Popovich, JJ.
[ 390 Pa. Super. Page 32]
In this appeal, we must address an issue of first impression with reference to the Pennsylvania Insurance Guaranty
[ 390 Pa. Super. Page 33]
Association Act, Act of Nov. 25, 1970, P.L. 716, No. 232, Art. I § 101 et seq., 40 P.S. § 1701.101 et seq. Although this issue is not without difficulty, we have determined that the trial court correctly resolved it and, accordingly, we affirm.*fn1
In March of 1985, appellant Elizabeth Blackwell was involved in an automobile accident while she was a passenger in an auto being operated by Blanche Grebloski. The Grebloski auto was struck by a Ferree Transport tractor trailer being operated by Lee Gilbert. It has been agreed by the parties in this case that Blackwell's injuries are serious and amount to at least $365,000.00 in monetary damages. At the time of the accident, Ferree Transport and Gilbert were insured by a policy issued by the Carriers Insurance Company. The Carriers policy provided for a maximum limit of $6,000,000.00 in liability coverage. During the pendency of the instant lawsuit, Carriers was adjudicated insolvent. As result of Carriers' insolvency, both Ferree Transport and Gilbert became "uninsureds." Thus, Blackwell presented uninsured motorist claims to both her own insurer, Allstate, and to Grebloski's insurer, State Farm. Blackwell thereafter received the maximum amount for uninsured motorist coverage under each of these two insurance policies: $40,000.00 from State Farm and $25,000.00 from Allstate. Blackwell then applied to the Pennsylvania Insurance Guaranty Association ("PIGA") for payment of her claim against the insolvent Carriers.
As our Supreme Court has recently recognized, the Insurance Guaranty Act was "enacted to give a measure of protection to policyholders and claimants who are faced with financial loss because of the insolvency of certain carriers of property and casualty insurance. Section 102(1) of the Act, 40 P.S. § 1701.102(1)." Bethea v. Forbes, 519 Pa. 422, 424,
[ 390 Pa. Super. Page 34548]
A.2d 1215, 1216 (1988). Some of the stated purposes of the Act relevant in the instant case are to "provide a means for the payment of covered claims under certain property and casualty insurance policies, to avoid excessive delays in the payment of such claims, and to avoid financial loss to claimants or policyholders as a result of the insolvency of an insurer." 40 P.S. § 1701.102(1). To these ends, the Act provides that PIGA is "obligated to make payment on the extent of the covered claims of an insolvent insurer . . . but such obligation shall include only that amount of each covered claim which is in excess of one hundred dollars ($100), and is less than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00)." 40 P.S. § 1701.201(b)(1)(i). Further, PIGA is prohibited from paying more than the maximum ...