Not Receiving Advance Written Notice of Insurance Policy Cancellation In Pennsylvania

In Webb v. Department of Transportation, 870 A.2d 968 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2005), the registrant appealed his suspension, pro se, arguing that he had not received any notice of his insurance policy termination until he received notice of his registration suspension from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Bureau of Driver Licensing (Department). The trial court found that the registrant's insurance termination had not been effected because the insurance company did not give him the advance written notice required by Section 2006 of the Insurance Company Law, 40 P.S. 991.2006. On appeal, the Court explained that a trial court does not exceed its scope of review "to the extent that a court reviewing a Department registration suspension appeal may certainly examine the record before it to determine whether an insured's evidence has overcome the applicable presumption established by the Department." Id. at 974. This Court found that an inquiry into the validity of an insurance policy termination is within the province of the Insurance Commissioner when an examination beyond the record on its face is warranted. However, the Court also noted that the Department's own suspension notice does not state specifically that such appeals are to be brought to the Insurance Commissioner, which makes it understandable that the registrant would bring such an issue to the trial court hearing the suspension appeal. The Court concluded that in such circumstances it is appropriate to allow the registrant to seek nunc pro tunc review of his insurance policy cancellation from the Insurance Commissioner.