Insurance Company Mailed Policy Cancellation Notice to the Wrong Address

What happens if the insurance company sends a policy cancellation notice to the wrong address ? In Eckenrode v. Department of Transportation, 853 A.2d 1141 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2004), Department of Transportation (DOT) suspended the appellant's registration in the wake of an insurer's cancellation of the related policy due to nonpayment of premiums. The record in that case established that the insurer's proof of mailing of the cancellation notice had been mailed to a different address than that at which the appellant resided. Noting that Section 2006 of the Insurance Law mandated that such notice be sent to the address contained within the insurance policy, and further noting that the record did not speak to the matter of which of appellant's addresses was contained within the applicable policy, we remanded the matter to the trial court for a determination of whether the addresses on the policy and the notice were the same. The Court further instructed the trial court that, if the record showed that the two addresses were different, then the policy cancellation was ineffective and DOT was therefore without the authority to impose the registration suspension at issue. While acknowledging the parallel two-part review system provided for in Act 152's amendments to Section 1786(d), we nonetheless concluded that those amendments did not, in the minimum, preclude the trial court's examination of the facial validity of a cancellation notice on the record before the trial court within the context of an appeal of a DOT registration suspension. The Court wrote: While Section 1786(d)(5) of the Vehicle Code requires a licensee to bring any challenge to the termination of insurance before the Insurance Department, Section 2006 [of the Insurance Law] provides that no cancellation of automobile insurance is effective "unless the insurer mails or delivers to the named insured at the address shown in the policy a written notice of the cancellation ..." 40 P.S. 991.2006. Eckenrode, 853 A.2d at 1145.