Murray v. Simmons
In an underinsured-motorist case in which the plaintiff's insurance company claims that the defendant possessed coverage and was not, in fact, underinsured, a court can reject the plaintiff's argument that proof of payment is required and that proof of insurance coverage is insufficient. Allegedly, the defendant tortfeasor failed to stop at an intersection and collided with a motor vehicle driven by the plaintiff. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant tortfeasor had liability insurance with a policy limit of $20,000 and was underinsured. The plaintiff sought underinsured-motorist coverage from her own insurance company, Arbella Indemnity Insurance Co., which had a policy limit of $100,000. Arbella filed a motion for summary judgment and argued that the defendant tortfeasor did not qualify as underinsured, because he was covered by insurance policies with policy limits in the amounts of $20,000, $100,000 and $500,000. The plaintiff objected that the court should not grant summary judgment to Arbella until she actually recovers damages in an amount that exceeds the $100,000 policy limit. The court rejected the plaintiff's argument that proof of payment is required and that proof of coverage is insufficient. The Connecticut Supreme Court rejected a similar claim in a 1990 decision, American Motorists Ins. Co. v. Gould. The Superior Court granted Arbella's motion for summary judgment.