Waiver of UM Coverage for Failure to Give Prior Notice - Downey v. Travelers Property Casualty Ins. Co.

In Downey v. Travelers Property Casualty Ins. Co., [Ms. 1100272, June 30, 2011] _ So. 3d __(Ala. 2011), the Alabama Supreme Court, in answering a certified question from the Northern District of Alabama, Middle Division, held that under Alabama law the failure of an insured to give prior notice to his or her insurer of a proposed settlement and release of an alleged tortfeasor causes the insured to forfeit UIM coverage regardless of the insured's actual knowledge of said coverage and regardless of prejudice to the insurer if the insured has possession of the policy which provides the coverage. The Court stressed that at the time the alleged tortfeasor was released, the Downeys were represented by counsel and had possession of the policy. The Court also stressed that none of the "certain conditions" under which "lack of notice may be excusable" were shown to exist.
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