Supreme Court Reverses Ruling in UM/UIM Case

by Hannah Garcia

The Colorado Supreme Court handed down a win for insurance companies in a June 5 opinion that left intact their ability to deny uninsured and underinsured motorist protections in certain circumstances.

It’s a case that comes down to the interpretation of statute versus that application of common law.

In State Farm v. Johnson, the Colorado Supreme Court reversed the state’s intermediate appellate court by finding that the insurance company had no obligation to cover petitioner Brian Johnson after he was in a collision with an under-insured driver because his friend who jointly owned his vehicle had implied authority to deny coverage on his behalf.

The justices “conclude(d) that nothing in the language of section 10-4-609 (of the Colorado Revised Statutes) precludes an agent from exercising either apparent or implied authority to reject UM/UIM coverage on behalf of a principal.” The case was remanded to the appeals court.

To read this story and other complete articles featured in the June 19, 2017 print edition of Law Week Colorado, copies are available for purchase online.