FINAL UNTIL TIME EXPIRES TO FILE REHEARING MOTION AND, IF
from the Circuit Court for Manatee County; Gilbert Smith,
Patricia D. Crauwels, Josh R. Dell, and Arthur S. Hardy of
Matthews Eastmoore, Sarasota, for Appellant.
J. McLemore and Charles W. Hall of Banker Lopez Gassler P.A.,
Saint Petersburg, and Jaime Delgado of Kallins, Little &
Delgado, P.A., Palmetto, for Appellee Allstate Fire and
Casualty Insurance Company.
appearance for Appellee James M. Horne, Jr.
Insurance Company (Owners) appeals the entry of a final
summary judgment in favor of Allstate Fire and Casualty
Insurance Company (Allstate) in an action filed by Allstate
against Owners and Allstate's insured, James M. Horne,
Jr. (Horne). At the time of his automobile accident, Horne
resided with his mother and stepfather, who had an automobile
insurance policy with Owners. Allstate sought a declaration
that Horne was covered under the Owners policy for injuries
he suffered in the accident. The Owners policy covered
resident relatives, but only those "relatives who do not
own an automobile." Horne owned an automobile at the
time of the accident. Nonetheless, the trial court concluded
that the Owners policy provided uninsured motorist (UM)
coverage to Horne. We reverse.
appeal presents the following legal question, which we review
de novo and answer in the affirmative: May an insurer exclude
a resident relative who owns an automobile from UM coverage
without complying with the informed-acceptance and
reduced-premium requirements of section 627.727(9), Florida
Statutes (2013), if the policy does not provide liability
coverage to that resident relative? See Tara Woods SPE,
LLC v. Cashin, 116 So.3d 492, 497 (Fla. 2d DCA 2013)
("[T]he circuit court's conclusions of law, when
based on its interpretation of statutes and written
agreements and contracts, are reviewed de novo.").
Florida law, if a motor vehicle insurance policy provides
liability coverage to a resident relative, then it must also
extend the same level of UM coverage. See §
627.727(1); Flores v. Allstate Ins. Co., 819 So.2d
740, 744 (Fla. 2002) ("[U]ninsured motorist coverage . .
. is statutorily intended to provide the reciprocal or mutual
equivalent of automobile liability coverage . . . ."
(quoting Mullis v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co.,
252 So.2d 229, 237-38 (Fla. 1971)). A policy may include
specified provisions that exclude certain insureds from UM
coverage if the named insured knowingly accepts such a
limitation and the insurer offers a reduced premium rate.
See § 627.727(9); Gov't Emps. Ins. Co.
v. Douglas, 654 So.2d 118, 120 (Fla. 1995) ("[T]o
limit coverage validly, the insurer must satisfy the
statutorily-mandated requirement of notice to the insured and
obtain a knowing acceptance of the limited coverage . . .
[and must] file revised, decreased premium rates for such
neither obtained the informed acceptance nor provided the
reduced rate required of insurers that include the statutory
exceptions to the UM-coverage mandate in their policies.
See § 627.727(9). Allstate contends that this
renders invalid the Owners policy's exclusion of resident
relatives who own a vehicle. However, Owners did not need to
rely on a statutory exception because UM coverage for Horne
was not mandated in the first place. Section 627.727(1)
requires policies to include UM coverage for "persons
insured thereunder." Because Horne owned his own
automobile, he was not an insured under the policy. Because
the policy did not provide Horne with bodily liability
coverage, there was nothing to which UM coverage was required
to be the "mutual equivalent." See Flores,
819 So.2d at 744; § 627.727(1).
627.727 does not require insurance companies to provide
coverage to all resident relatives. See Sterling v. Ohio
Cas. Ins. Co., 936 So.2d 43, 46 (Fla. 2d DCA 2006)
("[Section 627.727] has never mandated that specific
persons be included in the policy's definition of
'persons insured thereunder.' "); see also
France v. Liberty Mut. Ins. Co., 380 So.2d 1155, 1156
(Fla. 3d DCA 1980) ("[U]nlike [Mullis], upon
which France relies, she is not an insured within the terms
of Liberty Mutual's policy inasmuch as she owned an
automobile and was not a 'relative' within the
definition of the policy."). "[S]ection 627.727(1)
does not establish a mandatory scope of coverage" but
requires that "uninsured motorist coverage must be
extended to family members if they are included in
the basic liability coverage provisions of the policy."
Lewis v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 503 So.2d 908, 910
(Fla. 5th DCA 1987) (emphasis added); see also
Douglas, 654 So.2d at 120 ("Uninsured motorist
protection . . . protects the named insured or
insured members of his family . . . ."
(emphasis added) (quoting Coleman v. Fla. Ins. Guar.
Ass'n, 517 So.2d 686, 689 (Fla. 1988))); cf.
Rando v. Gov't Emps. Ins. Co., 39 So.3d 244, 251
(Fla. 2010) (Canady, J., dissenting) ("Nothing . . .
suggests that the subsidiary regulatory provision in [section
627.727](9) reaches further than the underlying regulatory
provision in [section 627.727](1).").
policy does not provide liability coverage to certain
resident relatives, then there is no mandate requiring UM
coverage for those resident relatives. As such, the trial
court erred by granting summary judgment in favor of
Allstate. We reverse and remand for further proceedings
consistent with this opinion.
VILLANTI and ...