In American Fire and Casualty Co. v. Hegel, Hegel’s decedent, Fetzer, was killed while delivering pizzas in an accident where Fetzer was not at fault. The trial court found that North Dakota law applied (place of the accident) and that American Fire (Pizza company’s insurance company) owed UM. The Eighth Circuit reversed. North Dakota choice of law principles applied. Under North Dakota law, “when insurance coverage is at issue, the location of the accident has “less significance” when the policy covers risks that are scattered throughout two or more states.” (citing Plante v. Columbia Paints, 494 N.W.2d 140, 143 (N.D. 1992))
The policy at issue was sold to a Kentucky company, by a Kentucky agent to cover autos all over the country.
[A]pplying Kentucky law to the Policy creates the most predictable result.
The Eighth Circuit found the trial court erred in focusing on the fact that the accident occurred in North Dakota, and the deceased lived in North Dakota and was employed there. That North Dakota required UM coverage while Kentucky did not was apparently immaterial, because minimum limits had been paid by the tortfeasor.