Hoglund v. Secura Ins., No. 93-0037-FT

CourtCourt of Appeals of Wisconsin
Writing for the CourtMYSE
Citation500 N.W.2d 354,176 Wis.2d 265
PartiesFlorence M. HOGLUND, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. SECURA INSURANCE, a mutual company, a domestic insurance corporation, Douglas D. Lebal, Defendants, American States Insurance Company, a foreign insurance corporation, Defendant-Respondent. d
Docket NumberNo. 93-0037-FT
Decision Date13 April 1993

Page 354

500 N.W.2d 354
176 Wis.2d 265
Florence M. HOGLUND, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
SECURA INSURANCE, a mutual company, a domestic insurance corporation,
Douglas D. Lebal, Defendants,
American States Insurance Company, a foreign insurance
corporation, Defendant-Respondent. d
No. 93-0037-FT.
Court of Appeals of Wisconsin.
Submitted on Briefs March 30, 1993.
Opinion Released April 13, 1993.
Opinion Filed April 13, 1993.

Before CANE, P.J., and WEDEMEYER and MYSE, JJ.

MYSE, Judge.

Florence Hoglund appeals a summary judgment dismissing her complaint against American States Insurance Company for payment under its underinsured motorists (UIM) policy provisions. She contends the trial court erred by concluding that American States' policy definition of "underinsured motor vehicle" was valid and enforceable and precluded her recovery under the UIM provisions. She argues that the definition, providing coverage only if the tortfeasor's policy limits are less than Hoglund's $25,000 UIM policy limits, (1) renders coverage under the UIM provision illusory because motorists are statutorily required to carry at least $25,000 of liability insurance under sec. 344.33, Stats., and (2) is inconsistent with the insured's reasonable expectation of coverage. We conclude that American States' policy definition of "underinsured motor vehicle" is unambiguous; however, because we conclude that the purchased UIM coverage constitutes an illusory contract, we reverse the judgment.

Hoglund was injured when Douglas Lebal's vehicle collided with her husband's truck, in which she was a passenger. Lebal had a $25,000 automobile liability policy with Secura Insurance. Hoglund's damages exceeded Secura's $25,000 policy limits. The Hoglund vehicle was insured under an American States policy [176 Wis.2d 268] that included $25,000 UIM coverage. An agent of American States twice confirmed to the Hoglunds that the premiums they paid purchased UIM coverage.

Hoglund commenced a personal injury action against Lebal and Secura Insurance. American States was joined because of its provision of UIM coverage to Hoglund and its subrogated rights to payments it made to Hoglund under its medical payment provisions. American States moved the trial court for summary judgment as to the UIM coverage issue, claiming that its policy definition of an underinsured motor vehicle precluded Hoglund's recovery under the UIM provisions. The trial court agreed and granted summary judgment to American States.

Summary judgment is appropriate because the facts are undisputed. Section 802.08(2), Stats. When reviewing a grant of summary judgment, we apply the same methodology as the trial court. Green Spring Farms v. Kersten, 136 Wis.2d 304, 314-15, 401 N.W.2d 816, 820 (1987). Because that methodology is familiar, we need not repeat it here. See id.

Interpretation of an insurance policy is a question of law. Keane v. Auto-Owners Ins. Co., 159 Wis.2d 539, 547, 464 N.W.2d 830, 833 (1991). We may not modify an insurance policy's unambiguous language. Schroeder v. Blue Cross & Blue Shield, 153 Wis.2d 165, 173, 450 N.W.2d 470, 473 (Ct.App.1989). A policy's language is ambiguous when it is susceptible to more than one reasonable interpretation. Id. at 174, 450 N.W.2d at 473. Whether an insurance contract is illusory is a question of law. We review questions of law independently of the trial court's determinations. Ball v. [176 Wis.2d 269] District No. 4 Area Bd., 117 Wis.2d 529, 537, 345 N.W.2d 389, 394 (1984).

The American States policy defines "Underinsured Motor Vehicle" as "a land motor vehicle or trailer of any type to which a bodily injury liability bond or policy applies at the time of the accident; however,

Page 356

its limit for bodily injury liability...

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  • Bhasker v. Kemper Cas. Ins. Co., No. CIV 17–0260 JB/JHR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • January 10, 2018
    ...315 Mont. 107, 67 P.3d 892 (2003) ; Pristavec v. Westfield Ins. Co., 184 W.Va. 331, 400 S.E.2d 575, 577 (1990) ; Hoglund v. Secura Ins., 176 Wis.2d 265, 500 N.W.2d 354, 355 (1993), superseded by statute ). Regarding Pristavec v. Westfield Ins. Co., Bhasker asserts that the court concluded t......
  • Bhasker v. Kemper Cas. Ins. Co., No. CIV 17-0260 JB\JHR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • February 7, 2019
    ...is insured in other states which have financial responsibility limits equal to or greater than ... Illinois."); Hoglund v. Secura Ins., 176 Wis.2d 265, 500 N.W.2d 354, 357 (Wis. Ct. App. 1993) ("Because the insured had paid a premium for a benefit that would never be available, the court fo......
  • Badger Mut. Ins. Co. v. Schmitz, No. 00-2682.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 10, 2002
    ...court held that UIM coverage under which no benefits would ever be paid was illusory and against public policy. Hoglund v. Secura Ins., 176 Wis. 2d 265, 271, 500 N.W.2d 354 (Ct. App. 1993). In Hoglund, the insured had $25,000 of UIM coverage, but statutes mandated that Wisconsin drivers mus......
  • Sweeney v. General Cas. Co. of Wisconsin, No. 97-2010
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • May 14, 1998
    ...Page 738 We recognized that Kuhn would receive some of the $50,000 benefits, whereas in a recent decision, Hoglund v. Secura Insurance, 176 Wis.2d 265, 500 N.W.2d 354 (Ct.App.1993), we invalidated a reducing clause as illusory because, with limits of $25,000 for the UIM coverage, the insure......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
38 cases
  • Bhasker v. Kemper Cas. Ins. Co., No. CIV 17–0260 JB/JHR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • January 10, 2018
    ...315 Mont. 107, 67 P.3d 892 (2003) ; Pristavec v. Westfield Ins. Co., 184 W.Va. 331, 400 S.E.2d 575, 577 (1990) ; Hoglund v. Secura Ins., 176 Wis.2d 265, 500 N.W.2d 354, 355 (1993), superseded by statute ). Regarding Pristavec v. Westfield Ins. Co., Bhasker asserts that the court concluded t......
  • Bhasker v. Kemper Cas. Ins. Co., No. CIV 17-0260 JB\JHR
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • February 7, 2019
    ...is insured in other states which have financial responsibility limits equal to or greater than ... Illinois."); Hoglund v. Secura Ins., 176 Wis.2d 265, 500 N.W.2d 354, 357 (Wis. Ct. App. 1993) ("Because the insured had paid a premium for a benefit that would never be available, the court fo......
  • Badger Mut. Ins. Co. v. Schmitz, No. 00-2682.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 10, 2002
    ...court held that UIM coverage under which no benefits would ever be paid was illusory and against public policy. Hoglund v. Secura Ins., 176 Wis. 2d 265, 271, 500 N.W.2d 354 (Ct. App. 1993). In Hoglund, the insured had $25,000 of UIM coverage, but statutes mandated that Wisconsin drivers mus......
  • Sweeney v. General Cas. Co. of Wisconsin, No. 97-2010
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Wisconsin
    • May 14, 1998
    ...Page 738 We recognized that Kuhn would receive some of the $50,000 benefits, whereas in a recent decision, Hoglund v. Secura Insurance, 176 Wis.2d 265, 500 N.W.2d 354 (Ct.App.1993), we invalidated a reducing clause as illusory because, with limits of $25,000 for the UIM coverage, the insure......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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