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Insurance – Auto – UIM – Per Accident/Per Person Limit

Integon National Insurance Co. v. King (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-005-17, 12 pp.) (Robert Hunter Jr., J.) Appealed from Forsyth County Superior Court (R. Stuart Albright, J.) N.C. App. Unpub.

Holding: After an accident that injured five people, the tortfeasor’s insurer paid its liability limits on a per-accident basis. Therefore, an injured motorcycle driver’s underinsured motorist coverage must also be paid on a per-accident – rather than on a per-person – basis under N.C. Farm Bureau Mut. Ins. Co. v. Gurley, 139 N.C. App. 178, 532 S.E.2d 846 (2000).

We affirm summary judgment for defendants.

Distributing the per-accident UIM limit of $240,000 (which includes a $60,000 credit to the plaintiff-insurer for the amount distributed pursuant to the tortfeasor’s exhausted policy) between the two defendant-estates does not result in defendants recovering an amount beyond the bargained-for limit in decedent King’s policy. Under no calculation does the final amount paid by plaintiff exceed its $300,000 per-accident UIM limit. Thus, defendants are not receiving “a windfall simply because they were involved in an accident with an underinsured motorist….” Gurley.

Since plaintiff (which issued both King’s and the tortfeasor’s policies) has already advanced a total of $164,144 to defendants, plaintiff is liable only for the remaining $75,856 under the UIM policy per-accident limit.


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