Invalid Rejection of UM Benefits Under Section 1731

Can a Rejection of UM Benefits Coverage That is Invalid Under Section 1731 be Treated as a Written Request for Reduction of UM Benefits Coverage Under Section 1734 ? National Union Fire Insurance Co. v. Irex Corp., 713 A.2d 1145 (Pa. Super. 1998) was a case concerning the rejection of UM benefits coverage. The only issue in Irex regarding a construction of section 1734 was whether a rejection of UM benefits coverage that is invalid under section 1731 may be treated as a written request by the insured for a reduction of UM benefits coverage under section 1734. The panel held that it could not, because such a result would be absurd and would allow an insurer to circumvent the requirements of the MVFRL. The majority in Irex went farther in its discussion than simply answering the question before the panel, however, and engaged in an instructional discourse on how sections 1791, 1731, and 1734 should work together. The majority in Irex reasoned that section 1791 of the MVFRL, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 1791, requires an insurer to provide notice to policy applicants of the types and amounts of coverage required to be offered. The majority stated that the notice to the applicant must explain that the applicant may purchase or reject these coverages, and that the applicant may purchase coverages in higher or lower amounts than those set forth in the 'Important Notice' of section 1791. The majority concluded that there could be no application of the conclusive presumption of section 1791 when the insurer admittedly did not provide section 1791 notice to the applicant.