Swartzbaugh v. Encompass Ins. Co. of Am.Annotate this Case
Lynne Swartzbaugh purchased motor vehicle insurance with Encompass Insurance Company. The policy named Lynne, her husband, and their daughter Kelly (Petitioners) as drivers. Lynne executed a waiver of higher uninsured motorist (UM) coverage on the standard Maryland Insurance Administration form. Immediately beneath the signature line below the waiver appeared the legend: "Signature of First Named Insured." By its terms, consistent with Maryland law, the waiver remained in effect until withdrawn, and the waiver was never withdrawn. Later, Kelly was injured in an accident involving an under-insured driver. Kelly was unable to collect further damages from Encompass under that policy's UM coverage. Petitioners sought a declaration that the waiver was ineffective because Lynne was not in fact the "first named insured" on the policy. The circuit court ruled that the waiver signed by Lynne was valid and enforceable. The court of special appeals affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that, in the context of a motor vehicle insurance policy, the phrase "first named insured" refers to a person insured under the policy and specifically named in the policy who acts on behalf of the other insured parties and is designated as "first named insured" in the policy documents.