Automobile insurers authorized to conduct business in Michigan must file a written certification stating that its non-resident insureds are covered by personal protection or “PIP” insurance. A “nonadmitted” insurer—one that is not authorized to sell insurance in Michigan—may file this certification voluntarily. These certifications can affect entitlement to benefits: an injured person is not entitled to PIP benefits if “the person was not a resident of this state, was an occupant of a motor vehicle or motorcycle not registered in this state, and was not insured by an insurer which has filed a certification in compliance with [this section].”
InPerkins v. Auto-Owners Insurance Co. et al. (July 18, 2013), a nonresident motorcyclist was injured in Michigan. His motorcycle insurer had not filed a written certification but State Farm, which insured another one of his vehicles, did. Perkins, the injured motorcyclist, sought benefits from three parties: his motorcycle insurer (which had not filed a certification), the insurer of his other vehicles (which had filed a certification), and the other driver’s insurer (which had filed a certification). The first two insurers were eliminated through motion practice, leaving only the other driver’s insurer, Auto-Owners Insurance.
On appeal, Auto-Owners argued that Perkins was not entitled to PIP benefits because his motorcycle—the vehicle involved in the accident—was not insured by a company that had filed a written certification. But the relevant section of the no-fault act refers only certification filed by “an” insurer, not “the” insurer. The Court of Appeals concluded, therefore, that the certified policy on Perkins’s other vehicles meant that he was entitled to PIP benefits, even if the vehicle involved in the accident was not covered by a certified policy.