An Overview of § 1719 under the Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (MVFRL)

Section "§ 1719. Coordination of benefits," delineates the priority of insurance benefits in case of a vehicular accident, indicating the primary role of an automobile insurance policy over other arrangements like group contracts or programs, except for workers' compensation.
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Statutory Text

§ 1719. Coordination of benefits.

(a) General rule.--Except for workers' compensation, a policy of insurance issued or delivered pursuant to this subchapter shall be primary. Any program, group contract or other arrangement for payment of benefits such as described in section 1711 (relating to required benefits), 1712(1) and (2) (relating to availability of benefits) or 1715 (relating to availability of adequate limits) shall be construed to contain a provision that all benefits provided therein shall be in excess of and not in duplication of any valid and collectible first party benefits provided in section 1711, 1712 or 1715 or workers' compensation.

(b) Definition.--As used in this section the term "program, group contract or other arrangement" includes, but is not limited to, benefits payable by a hospital plan corporation or a professional health service corporation subject to 40 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 (relating to hospital plan corporations) or 63 (relating to professional health services plan corporations).

Definition of Key Terms:

'Coordination of Benefits'

Refers to a policy rule determining the order in which multiple insurance policies will pay out benefits, therefore preventing duplication of payments.

'Program, group contract or other arrangement'

Refers to any other type of benefit-providing agreement, including benefits payable by a hospital plan corporation or a professional health service corporation.

Importance to Pennsylvanian Drivers:

Understanding this section is crucial for drivers as it clarifies the hierarchy of benefits. If a driver carries multiple insurance policies, this aspect of MVFRL helps determine the primary source of compensation post-accident, avoiding double recovery from two different sources.

Importance to Pennsylvania Attorneys:

Attorneys must comprehend this section to guide their clients accurately in case of vehicle accidents. In situations where drivers are entitled to receive benefits from various insurance policies or contracts simultaneously, this section can prevent possible legal complications.

Advanced Analysis:

Analyzing § 1719 of MVFRL reveals an emphasis on avoiding double recovery. The phrasing "shall be in excess of and not in duplication of any valid and collectible first party benefits," highlights the intent to prevent drivers from collecting the same benefits from multiple sources. The inclusion of corporations subject to 40 Pa.C.S. Ch. 61 and 63 underscores that coordination of benefits extends beyond traditional insurance providers.

Moreover, 'primary' policy emphasis and exclusion for 'workers' compensation' signify a hierarchy amongst insurers to ensure every dollar is appropriately allocated. Here, the MVFRL works to prevent drivers from exploiting a broken system, regressing from the practical intent of insurance - to put policyholders back into position before the accident.

In conclusion, the understanding of § 1719 – Coordination of Benefits, is critical for drivers and attorneys alike, ensuring appropriate primacy on specific insurance policies and preventing misuse of benefits. Implicitly, this section holds a key position in the wider MVFRL, contributing greatly to the fair enforceability of automobile law in Pennsylvania.

About the author
Von Wooding

Von Wooding

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