Brey v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (UIM Coverage)

*This case is recommended for publication.

 

In Brey v. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. (2019AP1320), the Court of Appeals District IV held that Wisconsin law requires underinsured motorist (UIM) policies to cover any bodily injury, not just bodily injury to an insured.

Plaintiff Brey filed this lawsuit against his insurer State Farm seeking UIM coverage for the death of his father in a car accident. Brey’s father was not an insured under the State Farm policy. The State Farm policy barred coverage for the injury to Brey’s father because he was not an insured, but Brey argued that provision of the State Farm policy is unenforceable under Wis. Stat. § 632.32.

The court agreed that § 632.32 renders the UIM provision in the State Farm policy unenforceable. Section 632.32(2)(d) requires UIM policies to offer coverage for insureds “who are legally entitled to recover damages for bodily injury [or] death…from owners or operators of underinsured motor vehicles.” Because the statute does not specify that insureds can recover only for an insured’s bodily injury or death, the State Farm policy provided less coverage than required by statute. The law requires coverage for any bodily injury caused by an underinsured motorist, making the more restrictive State Farm policy unenforceable.

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