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Willis v Swain - Basic UM is required in HJUP policies

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A recent Hawaii Supreme Court case appears to generally require the existence of basic UM (Uninsured Motorist) coverage in HJUP (Hawaii Joint Underwriting Program) auto policies. See, Willis v. Swain, Hawaii Supreme Court No. 25992 (October 26, 2006). In that case the HJUP insurer (First Insurance) argued that HJUP policies are not required to include UM coverage. In addition First Insurance also asserted that, even if HJUP policies generally must include UM coverage, that their letter sent with the policy stating "[i]f you desire ... [UM] ... coverage[] ... , contact an insurance agent to assist you in obtaining these coverages upon payment of the appropriate premium..." was sufficient to constitute an offer of UM coverage and the insured was deemed to have rejected such coverage if the insured took no action after receiving such a letter. The Hawaii Supreme Court rejected those positions and stated that the letter was at most an invitation to initiate negotiation, not an offer. Furthermore, since the coverage had not been properly offered and refused, Willis's HJUP policy automatically included UM coverage by operation of law and she was entitled to assert her UM claim against First Insurance.

 

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Accident Lawyer Hawaii

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In the case of Tracey v. Solesky, 427 Md. 627, 50 A.3d 1075 (Md., 2012), the Court of Appeals of Maryland held that pit bull owners and harborers have strict liability for attacks on humans by their dogs. Massachusettes had previously established a similar policy. Cute pit bulls? Not hardly. Historically the dogs were bred to be weapons. They regularly maim and kill. Some courts are finally holding that owners and harborers of this particular breed are required to compensate their victims when their pit bulls wrongfully injure or kill - without the traditional "one free bite".










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