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Brown v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

April 17, 2019

DANNY R. BROWN and DIANA BROWN, Individually and as Husband and Wife, Plaintiffs-Respondents,
v.
AMERICAN FAMILY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant-Appellant.

          APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF OREGON COUNTY Honorable Harvey S. Allen

          GARY W. LYNCH, J.

         American Family Mutual Insurance Company ("American Family") appeals the trial court's judgment in favor of Danny and Diana Brown (individually referred to by their first names and collectively referred to as "the Browns"). In that judgment, the trial court determined that the Browns' four American Family auto insurance policies ("the Policies") are ambiguous as to whether the Policies' underinsured motorist ("UIM") coverage limits stack.[1] Because the Policies unambiguously prohibit stacking, we reverse and remand.

         The Policies

         Each of the Policies' declarations contain a $100, 000 maximum per person UIM coverage limit.[2] The dispute as to whether these UIM coverage limits stack, as framed by the parties in the trial court and now on appeal, revolves around the provisions in the "limits of liability" and "other insurance" sections of the Policies' UIM endorsements. Those sections, which are identical in the Policies, provide as follows:

         LIMITS OF LIABILITY

The limits of liability of this coverage as shown in the declarations apply, subject to the following:
1. The limit for each person is the maximum we will pay for all persons as the result of bodily injury to one person in any one accident.
2. Subject to the limit for each person, the limit for each accident is the maximum for bodily injury sustained by two or more persons in any one accident.
We will pay no more than these maximums no matter how many vehicles described in the declarations, insured persons, claims, claimants or policies or vehicles are involved.
The limits of liability of this coverage may not be added to or stacked onto the limits of liability of any other underinsured motorist coverage issued by us to you or any member of an insured person's household.
OTHER INSURANCE
If there are any limits of liability remaining after applying the reductions provided for in the "Limits of Liability" section of this endorsement and if there is other underinsured motorist insurance provided by another insurance company on a loss covered by this endorsement, we will pay our share according to this policy's proportion of the total remaining limits to the remaining limits of all underinsured motorist insurance provided by other insurance companies. But, any remaining limits of insurance provided under this endorsement for an insured person while ...

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