Money Deduction from UIM Carrier's Policy - Sdcl 58-11-9.5 South Dakota
Under the rules of statutory interpretation, "'we interpret statutes in accord with legislative intent.'" Welsh v. Centerville Township, 1999 SD 73, P7, 595 N.W.2d 622, 624.
To determine a statute's intent, we must review the statute as a whole, as well as any enactments relating to the same subject. See Kayser v. South Dakota State Elec. Comm'n, 512 N.W.2d 746, 747 (SD 1994) (citations omitted); Meyerink v. Northwestern Pub. Serv. Co., 391 N.W.2d 180, 183 (SD 1986).
The majority opinion interprets SDCL 58-11-9.5 to provide that "all monies received from the tortfeasor and the UIM primary carrier are deducted from the excess UIM carrier's policy limits to calculate the amount owed to the insured."
In making this interpretation, the majority ignores our settled rules of statutory interpretation by focusing in on only one sentence of SDCL 58-11-9.5, that "the insurance company agrees to pay its own insured for uncompensated damages," and ignores the remainder of the statute.
A thorough reading of the entire statute reflects that the statute also provides that UIM "coverage shall be limited to the underinsured motorist coverage limits on the vehicle of the party recovering less the amount paid by the liability insurer of the party recovered against." See SDCL 58-11-9.5.
The statute specifically deducts monies received from the liability insurer only and does not mention a deduction for monies received from another UIM carrier as the majority so holds.
In Farmland Insurance Co. of Des Moines, Iowa v. Heitmann, 498 N.W.2d 620, 625 (SD 1993), we held that SDCL 58-11-9.5 "clearly limits the insured's UIM recovery to the difference between the UIM policy limits less the amount paid by the liability insurer of the tortfeasor."
See also Great West Cas. Co. v. Hovaldt, 1999 SD 150, P11, 603 N.W.2d 198, 201 (noting that "UIM recovery is confined to 'the difference between the UIM policy limits less the amount paid by the liability insurer of the tortfeasor'").