In a rare move, in Sackett v. Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has decided to re-consider its earlier ruling which held that each time an insured adds a new vehicle to an existing auto insurance policy, the insurance company must obtain from the insured a new waiver form which rejects stacked UM/UIM coverage. In the absence of a new waiver from which rejects stacked UM/UIM coverage each time an insured adds a new vehicle to an existing policy, the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling would result in the insured being deemed to have stacked UM/UIM coverage on their auto policy (even if the insured did not pay for such coverage). Legal observers were shocked by the Court’s decision to re-consider its original decision in Sackett as almost all decisions of the Supreme Court are final.
Nationwide had requested re-argument and re-consideration of the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling because of the hardship it imposes on insurance companies. The Supreme Court will most likely decide the case before the end of the year. In the meantime, the Pennsylvania Legislature should re-examine the Pennsylvania Financial Responsibility Motor Vehicle Law (75 Pa.C.S.A. 1701 et seq.) and possibly vote to amend the Law to eliminate any ambiguity regarding this issue.
John P. Finnerty, Esquire