Curran v. Progressive Northwestern Ins. Co

In Curran v. Progressive Northwestern Ins. Co., 29 P.3d 829 (Alaska 2001), the Supreme Court of Alaska held that its statute requiring a UM insured to "use up" all underlying liability coverage before recovering under a UM policy is an "exhaustion statute" and, like other such provisions around the country, authorizes a UM insurer to make UM coverage inapplicable until the liability coverage has been used up. See id. at 833, 833 n.23., 834 n.31. The court rejected the argument of the insured that a unilateral credit of liability coverage does not satisfy the statutory requirement to use up the liability coverage by payments, judgments or settlements before an insured may collect UM benefits. Id. at 835-36. And the court rejected the argument advanced by the insured that such a construction is inconsistent with public policy, "since public policy can guide statutory construction but cannot override a clear and unequivocal statutory requirement." Id. at 833.