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Aguirre v. IFA Insurance Co.

September 30, 2008

ROSARIO AGUIRRE AND THOMAS AGUIRRE, HER HUSBAND, ZENAIDA GONZAGA AND FERNANDO GONZAGA, HER HUSBAND, AND ROSALINA LIM, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS ADMINISTRATRIX AND ADMINISTRATRIX AD PROSEQUENDUM OF THE ESTATE OF ALBERTO D. LIM, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS,
v.
IFA INSURANCE COMPANY, AIG CENTENNIAL INSURANCE COMPANY, F/K/A GE PROPERTY AND CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY, AND LIBERTY MUTUAL INSURANCE COMPANY, DEFENDANTS-RESPONDENTS.



On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Middlesex County, No. L-3546-07.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued September 9, 2008

Before Judges Wefing, Yannotti and LeWinn.

Rosario Aguirre and her husband Thomas, Zenaida Gonzaga and her husband Fernando, and Rosalina Lim ("plaintiffs") appeal from a trial court order granting summary judgment to defendants IFA Insurance Company, AIG Centennial Insurance Company (formerly known as GE Property and Casualty Insurance Company), and Liberty Mutual Insurance Company and dismissing plaintiffs' complaint. After reviewing the record in light of the contentions advanced on appeal, we affirm.

On July 15, 2003, Rosario Aguirre and Zenaida Gonzaga, together with Rosalina Lim and her husband Alberto, were passengers in a motor vehicle which was involved in a one-car accident in the Philippines. The three women were seriously injured in the accident and Alberto Lim was killed. Plaintiffs settled their claims with the driver of the vehicle, who had an insurance policy with liability coverage of 50,000 Philippine pesos. We are informed that sum is the equivalent of less than $1,000 in United States currency. Plaintiffs then sought to recover underinsured motorist ("UIM") benefits under their own respective policies. The Aguirres held an automobile insurance policy with defendant IFA that provided UIM coverage of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. The Gonzagas were insured by AIG Centennial's predecessor, GE Property and Casualty Insurance Company; their policy provided UIM coverage in the amounts of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident. The Lims were insured by defendant Libery Mutual; their policy provided UIM coverage, with a limit of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident. Each of the insurers denied coverage on the basis that the respective policies did not provide UIM coverage for an accident which occurred in the Philippines. This litigation resulted. The trial court held in favor of the insurers, and this appeal followed.

Each of the respective policies contained a clause setting forth the geographic scope of the coverage it provided. Part F of the Aguirres' IFA policy set forth the policy's general provisions. It included the following language:

The policy territory is:

1. The United States of America, its territories or possessions;

2. Puerto Rico; or

3. Canada.

The Gonzagas' policy stated, under the heading "When and Where Your Coverages Apply," "This policy applies only to accidents, occurrences and losses that happen during the policy period within the United States and Canada." Finally, the Lims' policy with Liberty Mutual defined the policy period and territory in Part F-General Provisions.

Policy Period and Territory

A. This policy applies only to accidents and ...


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