Is Self-Insurance a Legal Equivalent of No Insurance for Purposes of Allocation of Uninsured Motorist Benefits ?

In Jennings v. City of Dayton (1996), 114 Ohio App.3d 144, 682 N.E.2d 1070, the plaintiff was injured in an accident with a motor vehicle owned by the City of Dayton and driven by a city employee. At the time of the accident, the City of Dayton was not covered by a motor vehicle liability insurance policy. Rather, the City was self-insured under the provisions of R.C. 2744.08(A)(2)(a). Based on a review of the caselaw, we found that "the trend in the Supreme Court and in this court is to define self-insurers as uninsured and to maximize the uninsured motorist protection afforded to insured persons." Jennings, 114 Ohio App.3d at 148. Consequently, the Court held that "'self-insurance' is the legal equivalent of no insurance for purposes of the distribution of uninsured motorist benefits in accordance with R.C. 3937.18." Id. at 150.