this notice not to be "prominent," as required by § 1731(c.1). The court stated that it would have provided the same remedy. The court did not state its reasoning for finding the remedy of § 1731(c.1) to extend to renewal policies. Rather, it spoke in terms that seemed to assume that the remedy applied.
Defendant argues that this opinion, insofar as it addresses treatment of failure to provide prominent notice in renewal policies, is mere dicta. I agree. More importantly, the court did not thoroughly address this issue; rather, it simply assumed, without any consideration, that the remedy applied to improper renewal policies. For this reason, I do not weigh this dicta heavily, and do not find it persuasive precedent.
Plaintiff also points to Lucas v. Progressive Casualty Insurance Company, 451 Pa. Super. 492, 680 A.2d 873 (1996). There, as in this case, it was undisputed that the appellants signed rejections of both uninsured and underinsured motorist protection which contained the language required by § 1731(b) and (c). However, these rejections were printed on the same piece of paper, and so failed to comply with § 1731(c.1), which requires that rejections be printed on separate sheets. The court pointed to the provision which states "Any rejection form that does not specifically comply with this subsection is void" and also to the sentence that follows, "If the insurer fails to produce a valid rejection form, uninsured or underinsured coverage...under that policy shall be equal to the bodily injury liability limits." It held that, "since [the insurance company] failed to comply with § 1731, by statute, the insurer is required to provide appellants with underinsured (and uninsured) coverage equal to their bodily injury liability limits." Lucas, at 877.
Lucas too is distinguishable from the instant case. The defect in Lucas made the waivers themselves invalid, whereas here there is no dispute that there was a valid initial waiver. Defendant's argument in this case is not based upon there being no remedy under § 1731(c.1) for execution of invalid initial waivers; clearly there is. Rather, Defendant argues that the remedy applies only to invalid initial waivers, and not to improper notice on renewal policies. Lucas shows only that there is a remedy for the former, which Defendant concedes.
Thus, the only case that is truly on point in the present action, Franks, supports my reading of the language of § 1731(c.1). However, Plaintiff argues that to construe the statute as I do renders the notice provision mere surplusage. I recognize that every provision of a statute is presumed to be intended for some purpose and may not be reduced by interpretation to mere surplusage. Commonwealth v. Lobiondo, 501 Pa. 599, 462 A.2d 662 (1983). However, as the court pointed out in Franks, under the MVFRL, authority is delegated to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department for administration and enforcement of those provisions of the MVFRL which concern matters under its jurisdiction.
75 Pa.C.S.A. § 1704(b); Franks, at 82. The requirement regarding renewal notices constitutes a regulatory provision, to be enforced by the Insurance Department. The fact that it does not provide a remedy to private litigants does not render the provision mere surplusage.
Plaintiff also cites Pennsylvania law regarding statutory construction in an effort to persuade this Court that the remedial provision does in fact apply to renewal forms. He points to 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1921(a), which states that "the object of all interpretation and construction of statutes is to ascertain and effectuate the intention of the General Assembly." See also Motorists Insurance Companies v. Emig, 444 Pa. Super. 524, 664 A.2d 559 (1995); Lambert v. McClure, 407 Pa. Super. 257, 595 A.2d 629 (1991). Plaintiff also cites the decisions of Pennsylvania courts which have held that the MVFRL is to be construed liberally in order to give effect to its objects, one of which is affording the injured plaintiff the greatest possible coverage. Danko v. Erie Insurance Exchange, 428 Pa. Super. 223, 630 A.2d 1219 (1993), aff'd 538 Pa. 572, 649 A.2d 935 (1994); Sturkie v. Erie Insurance Group, 407 Pa. Super. 117, 595 A.2d 152 (1991).
Furthermore, Plaintiff contends that reading the statute as failing to provide a remedy in this situation would be absurd and unreasonable, and would therefore contravene 1 Pa.C.S.A. § 1922(1) (stating that the General Assembly does not intend a result that is absurd, impossible or execution or unreasonable). Finally, Plaintiff cites cases stating that, in close or doubtful insurance cases, the intent and language of insurance policies must be interpreted in favor of coverage for the insured. Danko, at 1222. Lambert, at 261.
While I give full credit to Plaintiff's arguments concerning statutory interpretation, such canons simply do not apply where the statutory language is clear. Here it is clear enough. This belief was implicit in the district court's decision in Franks : "the subsection provides a specific remedy for an invalid rejection form, but does not provide for a remedy for an improper renewal notice." Franks, at 82.
Based upon the fact that the plain language of the statute clearly requires it, and bolstered by the fact that the district court in Franks, the most factually similar and reasoned precedent available, has already so concluded, I conclude that the remedial provision of § 1731(c.1) does not supply a remedy to an individual for a failure to provide prominent notice of the absence of uninsured motorist coverage in a renewal policy. "Moreover, it is not the place of the courts to create a remedy when no remedy is provided within a statutory scheme, including a remedy by analogy to another provision of the statute." Franks, at 82. Therefore, an insured individual who has validly waived uninsured motorist liability coverage is not entitled to such coverage by operation of law where the notice requirement has been violated. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is therefore granted.
AND NOW, this 20th day of November, 1996, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment is hereby GRANTED, and Defendant is hereby DISMISSED.
Anita B. Brody, J.