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09/11/97 ILLINOIS FARMERS INSURANCE COMPANY v.

September 11, 1997

ILLINOIS FARMERS INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT,
v.
GLORIA CISCO, APPELLEE.-CHARLES SHANE, APPELLEE, V. ILLINOIS FARMERS INSURANCE COMPANY, APPELLANT.



No. 80980 - Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Edward G. Hofert, Judge, presiding. No. 81048 - Appeal from the Appellate Court for the First District; heard in that court on appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Edwin M. Berman, Judge, presiding.

The Honorable Justice Miller delivered the opinion of the court. Justice Heiple, dissenting.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Miller

The Honorable Justice MILLER delivered the opinion of the court:

In these consolidated cases, Richard Cisco and Charles Shane were involved in separate motor vehicle accidents with uninsured motorists. Cisco and Shane were driving vehicles owned by their respective employers. The vehicles being driven by Cisco and Shane were insured by their employers under policies of motor vehicle insurance providing uninsured-motorist benefits in the amounts of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per occurrence, the minimums required under section 143a of the Illinois Insurance Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 73, par. 755a) and section 7-203 of the Illinois Vehicle Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 95 1/2, par. 7-203). Cisco's estate and Shane sought to collect additional uninsured-motorist benefits under automobile insurance policies issued to them on their personal vehicles by Illinois Farmers Insurance Company. In both cases, Illinois Farmers denied coverage based on an uninsured-motorist coverage exclusion.

The appellate court, in each case, found that Illinois Farmers' exclusionary language violated section 143a-2(1) of the Insurance Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 73, par. 755a-2(1)). Section 143a-2(1) provides:

"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 designed for use on public highways and required to be registered in this State unless uninsured motorist coverage as required in Section 143a of this Code is offered in an amount up to the insured's bodily injury liability limits." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 73, par. 755a-2(1).

In Cisco's case, the appellate court affirmed the trial judge's ruling in favor of Cisco's estate. 278 Ill. App. 3d 1022, 215 Ill. Dec. 838, 664 N.E.2d 235. In Shane's case, the appellate court reversed the trial judge's grant of summary judgment in favor of Illinois Farmers. No. 1-95-1870 (unpublished order under Supreme Court Rule 23). Thus, the appellate court's rulings allowed Cisco's estate and Shane to collect uninsured-motorist benefits under the policies issued by Illinois Farmers.

Illinois Farmers filed a petition for leave to appeal in each case. 155 Ill. 2d R. 315(a). We allowed both of Illinois Farmers' petitions and consolidated them for purposes of this appeal. We affirm the judgments of the appellate court.

BACKGROUND

Cause No. 80980

In cause No. 80980, Richard Cisco was fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident involving an uninsured motorist. The vehicle driven by Cisco was owned by his employer and insured under a policy issued by the Insurance Company of North America (INA). The INA policy provided uninsured-motorist benefits of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per occurrence. INA paid Cisco's estate $20,000 in uninsured-motorist benefits as a result of Cisco's death.

At the time of the accident, Cisco and his wife, Gloria, were insured under automobile insurance policies issued by Illinois Farmers for the two vehicles owned by the Ciscos. Each policy provided bodily injury liability coverage and uninsured-motorist coverage in the amounts of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence. Gloria, on behalf of Richard's estate, sought uninsured-motorist benefits from Illinois Farmers under the policies. Illinois Farmers denied coverage based on paragraph 4 of the policies' "Other Insurance" provision. Each policy contains the following pertinent language:

"PART II-UNINSURED MOTORIST

Coverage C-Uninsured Motorist Coverage

(Including Underinsured Motorist Coverage)

We will pay all sums which an insured person is legally entitled to recover as damages from the owner or operator of an uninsured motor vehicle because of bodily injury sustained by the insured person. The bodily injury must be caused by accident and arise out ...


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