Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, Second Division
from the Circuit Court of St. Louis County, Honorable Gloria
Mutual Insurance Company ("Shelter") appeals from
the trial court's judgment in favor of Corey Carter
("Carter") in the amount of $100, 000 pursuant to
the uninsured motor vehicle liability coverage of two vehicle
insurance policies. We reverse and remand.
April 4, 2012, Carter was involved in a motor vehicle
accident while operating a 2002 Chevrolet Impala
("Impala"). There are two insurance policies at
issue: one policy covering the Impala and a second policy
covering a 2006 Pontiac Torrent ("Torrent"). The
Impala is titled solely in the name of Carter's mother,
Pam Carter ("Mother"), and the Torrent is jointly
titled in the name of Carter and Mother. Under both policies,
Mother is the only name listed under the heading of
"Named Insured" on the Auto Policy Declarations and
Policy Schedule ("Declarations Page"). However,
Mother and Carter are both listed under the "Additional
Listed Insured" heading on each policy.
policies provide uninsured motorist coverage depending on the
category of the insured. Category A provides $50, 000 for
insureds defined as "You, " "Relatives, "
and "Additional Listed Insured, " while Category B
provides $25, 000 for drivers of the policy's described
vehicle, not included in Category A, to satisfy the minimum
limit of uninsured motorist coverage.
trial court entered judgment in favor of Carter providing
coverage of $50, 000 under each policy for a total coverage
of $100, 000. This appeal follows.
sole point on appeal claims that the trial court erred in
entering judgment in favor of Carter for $100, 000 because
Carter is only entitled to $25, 000 in uninsured motor
vehicle liability coverage in that Carter's absence from
the Name Insured section of the Declarations Page and
ownership of another vehicle only qualifies as a Category B
insured under the Impala policy and does not qualify as a
Category A or Category B insured under the Torrent policy.
Standard of Review
interpretation of an insurance policy is a question of law
that this Court reviews de novo. Dutton v. Am.
Fam. Mut. Ins. Co., 454 S.W.3d 319, 322 (Mo. banc 2015)
(citing Rice v. Shelter Mut. Ins. Co., 301 S.W.3d
43, 46 (Mo. banc 2009)). When reviewing de novo, no
deference is given to the trial court's decision.
Boulevard Inv. Co. v. Capitol Indemn. Corp., 27
S.W.3d 856, 858 (Mo. App. E.D. 2000).
argues that the trial court erred in entering judgment in
favor of Carter for the amount of $100, 000 because Carter
does not qualify as an insured motorist under the 2002 Impala
and 2006 Torrent insurance policies. Shelter contends that
because Carter is not listed as a Named Insured and owns
another vehicle, he did not qualify as a Category A insured
under the Impala policy. Additionally, Shelter argues that
Carter is not covered by the Torrent policy because the
accident occurred while driving the Impala, which was not the
policy's "described auto." We agree in part.
interpreting an insurance policy, the language should be
given its plain meaning. Melton v. Country Mut. Ins.
Co., 75 S.W.3d 321, 324 (Mo. App. E.D. 2002). Although
policies contain both grants of coverage and exclusions, we
must "reconcile conflicting clauses in a policy so far
as their language reasonably permits." Taylor v.
Owners Ins. Co., 499 S.W.3d 351, 357 (Mo. App. W.D.
2016) (quoting Todd v. Missouri United Sch. Ins.
Council, 223 S.W.3d 156, 162-63 (Mo. banc 2007)).
However, if the language of the policy is ambiguous, we
resolve that ambiguity against the insurer. Allen v.
Cont'l W. Ins. Co., 436 S.W.3d 548, 554 (Mo. banc
2014). Further, we construe the terms of an insurance policy
by applying "the meaning which would be attached by an
ordinary person of average understanding . . . purchasing
insurance." Yager v. Shelter Gen. Ins. Co., 460
S.W.3d 68, 71 (Mo. App. W.D. 2015). Language is ambiguous if
it is reasonably open to different constructions. Am.
Family Mut. Ins. Co. v. Ragsdale, 213 S.W.3d 51, 55 (Mo.
App. W.D. 2006). An insurance policy must be enforced
according to its ...