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2010-UP-417 - Hamm v. Travelers Property Casualty Company

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

Donnie Ray Hamm, Respondent,

v.

Travelers Property Casualty Company of America, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and Kay V. Daily, Defendants,

Of Whom Travelers Property Casualty Company of America is Appellant,

and

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is also Respondent.


Appeal From Anderson County
 Alexander S. Macaulay, Circuit Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2010-UP-417
Submitted April 1, 2010 – Filed September 20, 2010


REVERSED


William P. Davis, of Columbia, for Appellant.

John M. O'Rourke, of Anderson, and John P. Riordan, of Greenville, for Respondent.

PER CURIAM: Travelers Property Casualty Company of America (Travelers) appeals the order of the circuit court granting summary judgment in favor of Donnie Ray Hamm and reforming his employer's insurance policy to include underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage.  Specifically, the circuit court found Travelers failed to make a meaningful offer of UIM coverage because the renewal form did not list the premiums for each additional coverage amount.  Travelers argues on appeal that the lower court erred in granting summary judgment because (1) State Farm Mutual Auto Insurance Co. v. Wannamaker, 291 S.C. 518, 354 S.E.2d 555 (1987) does not require premium amounts for the various options of UIM coverage limits to be included on the offer form to constitute a meaningful offer; (2) Hamm's employer, NationsRent, Inc., understood the nature of UIM coverage and intended to reject the offer regardless of the missing premiums on the form; and (3) the absence of the premium amounts is irrelevant because the offer would have been rejected regardless. 

This Court granted Traveler's motion to hold the opinion in abeyance pending a decision by the South Carolina Supreme Court in Grinnell Corp. v. Wood, 378 S.C. 458, 663 S.E.2d 61 (Ct. App. 2008).[1]  We reverse[2] pursuant to Rule 220(b)(2), SCACR, and the following authorities: Grinnell Corp. v. Wood, Op. No. 26869 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed Aug. 16, 2010) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 66) (holding a meaningful offer was made where risk manager knew his options with respect to additional UM and UIM coverage and knowingly declined the offer despite the form being insufficient because to hold otherwise would create an absurd result); Ray v. Austin, Op. No. 26858 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed Aug. 16, 2010) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 32 at 37) (stating that if the court were to find that the insurer failed to make a meaningful offer of UIM coverage because it failed to offer coverage in more specific terms, this would create an absurd result of reforming the insurance policy and giving the insured coverage it understood, did not want, and clearly rejected); Futch v. McAllister Towing of Georgetown, Inc., 335 S.C. 598, 613, 518 S.E.2d 591, 598 (1999) ("appellate court need not address remaining issues when disposition of prior issue is dispositive"). 

REVERSED.

PIEPER, GEATHERS, JJ., and CURETON, A.J., concur.


[1] Before we issued the opinion herein, both parties were allowed an opportunity to brief the applicability of Grinnell Corp. v. Wood, Op. No. 26869 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed Aug. 16, 2010) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 33 at 58). 

[2] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.