Bermel v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Co.Annotate this Case
The plaintiff-appellants, Bruce Bermel and Pamela Jurga, as husband and wife, appealed the final judgment of the Superior Court granting the motion for summary judgment of the defendant-appellee, Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company. The appellants contended that the Superior Court erred by granting summary judgment in favor of Liberty. Bermel was injured in an automobile accident when his personal motorcycle was struck head-on by another driver. Bermel, then an employee of the Siemens Corporation, contended that the business policy issued to Siemens by Liberty on a company car that was assigned for his business and personal use, provided him with $100,000 in underinsured motorist coverage even when he was operating a non-work vehicle in circumstances unrelated to his employment. Bermel brought this action for underinsured benefits (“UIM”) against Liberty arguing: (1) that the Liberty Policy covering the company car he used was personal to him, even though Siemens was the named insured; (2) that he was entitled to personally access the Liberty Policy because Siemens automatically deducted a nominal fee from his paycheck for his personal use of the vehicle assigned to him that was insured by the Liberty Policy; and (3) that the Liberty Policy was ambiguously drafted and should have been construed in his favor. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded that the Superior Court correctly found Siemens, and not Bermel, to be the named insured on the Liberty Policy, that the nominal fee charged to Bermel by Siemens for the use of the car did not make Bermel a named insured under the Liberty Policy, and that the Liberty Policy was unambiguous. Therefore, the judgments of the Superior Court were affirmed.