Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James
C. Murray, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE MCGILLICUDDY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
This is an appeal from a summary judgment entered in favor of defendant, Catholic Charities, holding that self-insurers are not required to provide uninsured motorist coverage with respect to motor vehicles covered by certificates of self-insurance.
On March 15, 1979, plaintiffs, Candy Hill and Edna Ross (Hill and Ross), were riding in a vehicle owned by defendant, Catholic Charities. The vehicle was involved in a collision with a hit-and-run driver. Hill and Ross allegedly incurred injuries and damages as a result of the collision.
Catholic Charities is an agency of the Catholic Bishop of Chicago, a corporation sole, and the vehicle in which Hill and Ross were riding was covered by a certificate of self-insurance issued to it under the provisions of the Illinois Safety Responsibility Law (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 95 1/2, par. 7-502).
On April 24, 1981, Hill and Ross filed a complaint for a declaratory judgment alleging that Catholic Charities was obligated to provide them with uninsured motorist coverage pursuant to section 143a of the Illinois Insurance Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 73, par. 755a(1)). On August 24, 1981, Catholic Charities filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that as a self-insurer it was not required to provide uninsured motorist coverage for those of its vehicles covered by a certificate of self-insurance. On January 27, 1982, the court granted summary judgment in favor of Catholic Charities. Hill and Ross appeal.
The sole issue before this court is whether a self-insurer is required to provide uninsured motorist coverage as a matter of law.
The Illinois Safety Responsibility Law provides in relevant part:
"Self-insurers. Any person in whose name more than 25 motor vehicles are registered may qualify as a self-insurer by obtaining a certificate of self-insurance issued by the Secretary of State as provided in this Section.
The Secretary of State may, in his discretion, upon the application of such a person, issue a certificate of self-insurance when he is satisfied that such person is possessed and will continue to be possessed of ability to pay judgment obtained against such person." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 95 1/2, par. 7-502.)
Since 1965 the Catholic Bishop of Chicago has qualified as a self-insurer under a certificate of self-insurance issued by the office of the Illinois Secretary of State.
The requirement for uninsured motorist coverage is found in the Illinois Insurance Code, which provides in pertinent part:
"On or after July 1, 1963, no policy insuring against loss resulting from liability imposed by law for bodily injury or death suffered by any person arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle shall be renewed or delivered or issued for delivery in this State with respect to any motor vehicle registered or principally garaged in this State unless coverage is provided therein or supplemental thereto, in limits for bodily injury or death set forth in Section 7-203 of The Illinois Vehicle Code for the protection of persons insured thereunder who are legally entitled to recover damages from owners or operators of uninsured motor vehicles and hit-and-run motor vehicles because of bodily injury, sickness or disease, including death, resulting therefrom * * *." (Emphasis added.) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 73, par. 755a(1).)
Hill and Ross argue that despite the fact that self-insurers by statute are relieved from the responsibility of procuring a "policy" of insurance, this statute should apply not only to commercially insured motor vehicles but also to those vehicles which are self-insured. Although this is a case of first impression in Illinois, other jurisdictions have considered this issue.
In O'Sullivan v. Salvation Army (1978), 85 Cal.App.3d 58, 147 Cal.Rptr. 729, plaintiff was riding in a truck owned by the Salvation Army. The Salvation Army had a valid certificate of self-insurance issued under California law. When the truck was struck by an uninsured motorist, plaintiff attempted to recover against the Salvation Army under the California uninsured motorist ...