Jackson v. Donahue

In Jackson v. Donahue, 193 W. Va. 587, 457 S.E.2d 524 (1995), the Court recognized that the option to self-insure "'is a privilege, and it is unimaginable that the legislature intended those to whom West Virginia grants this privilege would then be able to use it as a shield against liability to the public under circumstances where liability insurance would be required to pay.'" Id. at 594, 457 S.E.2d at 531. The Court made clear in Jackson that self-insurers are no different than third-party insurers with respect to the insurance coverage they provide. In Jackson, this Court held that a foreign commercial trucking corporation, which was granted authority by the PSC to self-insure, had to provide the same amount of minimal insurance coverage as required by the West Virginia motor vehicle omnibus statutes and the state's financial responsibility statute for liability insurance contracts. 193 W. Va. at 593-94, 457 S.E.2d at 530-31. "'The fact that the legislature permits companies to formulate the most efficient insurance coverage should not be misconstrued as a device to avoid liability by the self-retention of risk.'" Id. at 592, 457 S.E.2d at 529.