On June 17, 2019, Judge Wendy Beetlestone of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania ruled that a statewide prohibition on household exclusion policies should be applied retroactively, meaning that people who were denied insurance coverage due to a household exclusion policy, prior to a new Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, would not be barred from recovery.

The District Court examined the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision, Gallagher v. Geico Indemnity Co., 201 A.3d 131 (Pa. 2019), which held that it was illegal for insurance companies to deny coverage for stacked insurance claims based on household exclusion provisions. For example, if an individual had multiple vehicles insured under different “stacked” policies, an insurance provider could no longer exclude coverage in the event of an accident with the vehicle it did not directly insure, simply by drafting a “household exclusion” into its policy.

The question remained, however, whether this Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision would apply only to cases going forward, or also to individuals whose insurance claims had previously been denied under household exclusion policies. Judge Beetlestone ruled that limiting the application of the new Gallagher decision only to current and future cases would undermine its purpose, and that the interests of justice necessitated applying the rule retroactively, to denied insurance claims in the past.

Please contact Kohn Swift & Graf, P.C. if you have been denied insurance coverage under a household exclusion policy. You may be eligible to be included in a class action lawsuit.

Citations:

Gallagher v. GEICO Indemnity Co., 201 A.3d 131 (Pa. 2019).

Stockdale v. Allstate Fire & Cas. Ins. Co., No. CV 19-845, 2019 WL 2516049 (E.D. Pa. June 17, 2019).