May - July 2014

Actual charges
The definition of “actual charges” contained within S.C. Code Ann. Sec. 38-71-242 cannot be applied to insurance contracts executed prior to the statute’s effective dates.
Kirven v. Central States, Op. No. 27403 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed June 25, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 25 at 15).

Actual charges
The S.C. Department of Insurance cannot mandate the application of the “actual charges” definition in S.C. Code Ann. Sec. 38-71-242 to policies already in existence on the statute’s effective dates by prohibiting an insurance company from paying claims absent the application of that definition.
Kirven v. Central States, Op. No. 27403 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed June 25, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 25 at 15).

November 2013 - January 2014

Service of process
An insurance policy that provides for a method of service of process, other than that set forth in S.C. Code Section 15-9-270, is valid and binding on insurers.
White Oak Manor, Inc. v. Lexington Insurance Co., Op. No. 27351 (S.C. Sup. Ct. filed January 15, 2014) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 2 at 77).

Dec. 2012 - Feb. 2013

Automobile insurance
An insurer’s noncompliance with Subsection 38-77-350(B) of the S.C. Code does not mean the insurer did not make a meaningful offer in compliance with Section 38-77-160. Rather, it simply means a trial court must make the factual determination of whether the insurer made a meaningful offer.
Cohen v. Progressive N. Ins. Co., No. 5083 (S.C. Ct. App., Feb. 13, 2013) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 7).

Statutory interpretation
South Carolina's Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Act does not allow recovery of minimum limits liability coverage on a motor vehicle liability insurance policy when a person named in a policy provision pursuant to Section 38-77-340 of the S.C. Code is operating the motor vehicle.
Lincoln Gen. Ins. Co. v. Progressive N. Ins. Co., No. 5070 (S.C. Ct. App., Jan. 2, 2013) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 1).

Oct. - Dec. 2012

Statutory interpretation
Section 56-9-351 of the S.C. Code does not require nonresident motorists to maintain bodily injury coverage while driving in this state.
Thalia S., et. al v. Progressive Select Insurance Co., No. 5054 (S.C. Ct. App., Nov. 21, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 43).

July - Oct. 2012

Federal Arbitration Act
The General Assembly intended the arbitration exception to the Federal Arbitration Act in Section 15-48-10(b)(4) of the S.C. Code to apply directly to an insurance contract, not to automobile lease agreements that only have a tangential relationship to an insurance policy.
Walden v. Harrelson Nissan, No. 5000 (S.C. Ct. App., July 11, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 23)

Title insurance
Damages should be measured in favor of the insured when a title insurance policy is ambiguous as to whether the diminution of value resulting from partial failure of title should be measured as of the date of purchase of the property, or as of the date of discovery of title defect.
Joetta P. Whitlock v. Stewart Title Guaranty Co., No. 27169 (S.C. Sup. Ct., Sept. 12, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 32)

Underinsured motorist
In an underinsured motorist policy, the definition of a “covered person” as one “occupying [the insured’s] covered auto” is inclusive of those having actual physical contact with the vehicle at the time of the accident.
S.C. Farm Bureau v. Kennedy, No. 27147 (S.C. Sup. Ct., July 25, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 25)

May - June 2012

Life insurance
Consideration does not exist to form a contract for life insurance unless the insurance premium has been paid. Actions such as tendering a voided check and giving written authorization to draft a checking account for the monthly premium are part of the application process for life insurance and not absolute payments of the premium.
Boyd v. Liberty Life Ins. Co., No. 4985 (S.C. Ct. App. June 13, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 20)

Underinsured motorist coverage
Underinsured motorist (UIM) coverage applies to resident relatives who are passengers, but do not own the vehicle, involved in an accident.
Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co. v. Rhoden, No. 27131 (S.C. Sup. Ct. June 13, 2012) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 20)

July - Oct. 2011

Scope of obligation
The Court overruled Century Indemnity and imposed a "time on risk" approach to defining the scope of each Commercial General Liablity (CGL) insurer's obligation to its insured in a progressive damage case. The Court opined that this equitable approach best harmonizes with policy language limiting coverage to the "policy period" and that the "time on risk" framework lends itself to a logical default formula that is easily applied when the actual quantum of damage incurred during each policy period is not known.

Crossman Cmtys. v. Harleysville Mut. Ins. Co., No. 26909 (S.C. Sup. Ct., Aug. 22, 2011) (Shearouse Adv. Sh. No. 28).