ACCC Insurance Company issues policies in the states of Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. All of these states require that auto policies provide uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, but the complaint claims that ACCC’s policies do not.
The class for this action is all insureds under auto policies issued or delivered in Mississippi, Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah by ACCC Insurance Company in which UM/UIM coverage was denied based on the Family Member/Resident Exclusion found in the policies.
The accident in this case occurred in Mississippi on June 30, 2016. Kristi Ihrig was a passenger in her own 1997 Dodge Ram, which was being driven by Derwin Anderson. Another vehicle did not yield them their right of way and entered their lane. The driver of that vehicle, an uninsured motorist, was killed, and Ihrig and Anderson were seriously injured.
At the time, Ihrig’s mother, Vonda Ihrig, had a policy to cover a 2003 Ford Mustang, which had UM/UIM benefits. Kristi Ihrig was an insured under this policy.
For the purposes of UM/UIM benefits, under Mississippi law, an “insured” was defined as “the named insured and, while resident of the same household, the spouse of any such named insured and relatives of either, while in a motor vehicle or otherwise, and any person who uses, with the consent, expressed or implied, of the named insured, the motor vehicle to which the policy applies, and a guest in such motor vehicle…”
However, when Ihrig made a claim under the policy, ACCC denied it. The reason it gave was language in its policies that exclude family members and residents as “covered persons” for UM coverage if they are not named on the declarations page or added by endorsement.
The complaint claims that this requirement is not valid because it narrows coverage compared to what the law requires. It “denies coverage to an entire class of people in violation of” Mississippi’s laws. The complaint says, “The failure of Defendant ACCC Insurance Company to pay the [Ihrig’s] claim amounts to bad faith.”
The complaint quotes earlier cases to support the claim that companies can provide more coverage than the law requires but not less. It brings claims for breach of contract, tortious breach of contract, violation of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligence, and gross negligence, among other things. It asks for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief.