§49.16A Uninsured Motorist Cases - Statutory Arbitration Procedures
The Case: Nelson v. Nelson, 409 S.W.3d 629 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013).
The Basic Facts: Plaintiff sued defendant for injuries related to a car accident in Chattanooga. Plaintiff was a resident of Texas, and his insurance policy at issue here was delivered at his home in Texas. Plaintiff moved to compel arbitration pursuant to the UM coverage provisions in Tenn. Code Ann. § 56-7-1206, which the trial court granted but the Court of Appeals overturned.
The Bottom Line:
· “As discussed above, the UM statutes explicitly state that they apply to automobile insurance policies ‘delivered, issued for delivery or renewed in [Tennessee].’ Tenn. Code. Ann. § 56-7-1201(a). Further, Tenn. Code. Ann. § 56-7-1206, which contains the arbitration provision at issue in this case, makes clear that it applies to an ‘insured intending to rely on the coverage required by this part.’ (Emphasis added.) The statutes are clear and unambiguous. By restricting its provisions to Tennessee policies, it follows that the substantive provisions dealing with arbitration would not apply to the policies issued by Republic and GEICO, which were issued and delivered in Texas.” 409 S.W.3d at 632.
· “Our state courts have held that an automobile insurance policy which was not issued nor delivered in Tennessee is not a Tennessee contract, and thus is not controlled by Tennessee law. See Burns v. Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co., 741 S.W.2d 318 (Tenn. 1987); Fleet v. Bussell, No. E2003–02788–COA–R3–CV, 2004 WL 1933131 (Tenn. Ct. App. E.S., filed Aug. 31, 2004).” Id.
· “In this case, Plaintiff was a resident of Texas, and the insurance policies in question were issued and delivered in Texas. Based on both the plain wording of the statute, and the case law set forth above, it is clear to the Court that the arbitration provisions of the Tennessee UM statutes do not apply in this case.” Id.