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GEICO GENERAL INSURANCE CO. v. ANDREA BARNES-SIMMONS, et al

Insurance law — Automobile coverage — Owned-but-otherwise-insured exception

The facts of this case are stipulated. Appellees, Andrea Barnes-Simmons and her husband, Antoine Simmons owned two cars: a 2002 Mercury Mountaineer, insured by State Farm with uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) limits of $50,000, and a 2004 Mitsubishi Galant, insured by Appellant, GEICO with UM/UIM limits of $100,000. While driving the Mountaineer, Ms. Barnes-Simmons was involved in a motor vehicle accident with Brian Dies. Because Mr. Dies’s insurance carrier, Nationwide, offered its full policy limits of $50,000 in settlement, there was no underinsured motorist claim under BarnesSimmons’ State Farm policy.

Barnes-Simmons and Simmons thereafter proceeded against GEICO for the coverage in excess of the Nationwide/State Farm policy limits. GEICO declined coverage based on the “owned-but-otherwise-insured” exception. The sole issue for review is whether this common law exclusion applies under the facts presented. Barnes-Simmons’ argument proceeds in three steps: (1) courts do not permit nonstatutory exclusions to mandatory insurance coverage; (2) under the Maryland Insurance Code (“IN”) the only two statutory exclusions to UM/UIM coverage are the “owned-butuninsured” exclusion and the “named driver” exclusion, IN §19-509(f); therefore (3) the provision in GEICO’s policy that excludes coverage for vehicles “owned-but-otherwiseinsured” is invalid.

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