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Acceptance Insurance Co. v. Sloan

ELR Citation: 32 ELR 20228
Nos. 00-2423, 263 F.3d 278/(3d Cir., 08/22/2001)

The court holds that under Pennsylvania law a surface and underground coal mining general liability insurance carrier has not duty to notify the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) prior to cancelling an insurance policy unless a notification provision is included in the policy. The case arose as a result of an action against a mining company brought by the parents of a woman who was pushed to her death through an open shaft in the company's mine. The company's insurance carrier argued that it was not obligated to defend the company or to pay for any recovery because the policy was cancelled. The lower court disagreed and held that the policy could not effectively be cancelled until the DEP was notified.

The court first holds that the regulations at issue do not require an insurer to notify the DEP to effect a cancellation of a mining insurance policy. Rather, the regulations require that policies contain notification riders. Further, the regulations speak to the obligations of permittees and permit applicants, not to the obligations of insurers. Therefore, because the insurance carrier cancelled the policy in accordance with the policy's cancellation clauses, the court reverses the lower court decision.

The full text of this opinion is available from ELR (10 pp., ELR Order No. L-397).

Counsel for Appellant
Russell J. Ober Jr.
Meyer, Unkovic & Scott
1300 Oliver Bldg., Pittsburgh PA 1522
(412) 456-2800

Counsel for Appellee
Jan C. Swensen
Swensen, Perer & Kontos
Two PNC Plaza, Ste. 2710, Pittsburgh PA 15222
(412) 281-1970