Aviva v. Economical Mutual and Unifund Assurance, private arbitration, May 24, 2016, Arbitrator Bialkowski

Aviva v. Economical Mutual and Unifund Assurance, private arbitration, May 24, 2016, Arbitrator Bialkowski

Tara successfully brought a priority dispute against Economical and Unifund for the payment of accident benefits. The claimant was a minor child and a passenger in a loaner vehicle driven by his father at the time of the accident. The vehicle had been provided by a garage while the mother’s vehicle was being repaired. The garage vehicle was insured by Aviva at all material times.  His parents each had individual policies of insurance with Economical (father) and Unifund (mother). Priority had been denied on the basis that Aviva was equal in priority as a temporary substitute automobile and that the minor child was not “principally financially dependent” on one of his parents. Arbitrator Bilakowski found that the minor child was dependent on his parents as named insureds under the Economical and Unifund policies. As such, Economical and Unifund were ahead of Aviva in priority and the claimant has the unexercised discretion as to which of the two insurers were to provide benefits.