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Collins v. Economy Fire & Casualty Co.

OPINION FILED MAY 21, 1981.

JEFFREY R. COLLINS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

ECONOMY FIRE & CASUALTY COMPANY, DEFENDANT-APPELLEE.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JAMES C. MURRAY, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE ROMITI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The sole issue in this case is whether a "named driver" exclusion in an automobile policy is applicable to bar recovery under the uninsured motorist clause and medical payment coverage when the injured named person is a passenger, and not the driver. We hold that it is not and reverse the trial court's dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint.

On October 27, 1978, the plaintiff Jeffrey Collins was injured in an automobile accident while riding in an uninsured vehicle operated by Terry Williams. At the time of the accident, the defendant, Economy Fire & Casualty Company, insured Collins' wife under an automobile liability policy providing, among others, uninsured motorists and medical payments coverages. There was a "Named Driver Exclusion Endorsement." Since the policy defined the named insured to include the spouse of the named insured, if a resident of the same household, and since plaintiff was the spouse of the named insured and lived in the same household, it is clear that the plaintiff is covered by both coverages as a named insured unless the endorsement is applicable. The insurer does not dispute this. The "Named Driver Exclusion Endorsement" provides:

"In consideration of the premium at which the policy is written, it is agreed that all coverage afforded by the policy is void and shall not apply with respect to any claim arising from accidents which occur while any automobile is being operated by the following named person:

Jeffrey R. Collins, husband of the named insured

If the above named specifically excluded driver is the spouse of the named insured:

The definition of `named insured' is amended to read: `named insured' — means the individual named in Item 1 of the declarations.

It is further agreed that the definition of `relative' is amended to read:

`relative' — means a relative of the named insured, other than his spouse, who is a resident of the same household.

It is also agreed that the policy is hereby amended to delete all other references to `relative,' `residents of the same household' or `any other person' insofar as these refer to the spouse of the named insured. All other references to `spouse' are also deleted while any automobile is being operated by the spouse.

It is further agreed by the undersigned that the policy does not apply at any time to such excluded person's operation of any vehicle.

Nothing herein contained shall be held to vary, alter, waive or extend any of the terms, conditions, provisions, agreements or limitations of the Policy, other than as above stated."

After the insurer denied coverage, the plaintiff filed a declaratory judgment action seeking to compel the insurer to enter into arbitration. The trial court entered a judgment on the pleadings for the defendant.

It is established in Illinois that a named driver exclusion is valid and enforceable. (Heritage Insurance Co. of America v. Phelan (1974), 59 Ill.2d 389, 321 N.E.2d 257.) That case also established that the effect of such an endorsement is not limited to liability coverage but is applicable to the other coverages in the policy according to its terms. Accordingly, under the terms of this particular endorsement, it is clear that had plaintiff been driving the automobile at the time of the ...


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