Mario C. Ciano


It is not often that a legislative event and a happenstance of life converge almost simultaneously upon a specific and narrow issue of law. This is precisely what occurred in Ohio in the latter part of 1970. In that year, the legislature amended the Ohio Uninsured Motorist Statute to declare, in effect, that a vehicle would be considered "uninsured" when the company insuring that vehicle for some reason became financially insolvent. The amendment became effective October 1, 1970. That same year the legislature enacted legislation to provide a fund from which claims could be paid in the eventuality that an insurance company became bankrupt. That statutory framework, the Ohio Insurance Guaranty Association Act, became effective September 4, 1970. Strangely, as events would have it, the Ohio Valley Insurance Company, a domestic automobile liability carrier, was caught in financial straits and was officially declared insolvent in November of that same year. This series of events precipitates the present inquiry into the general area of company insolvency and its effects on uninsured motorist coverage, as well as the relationship between the attachment of such coverage and the Guaranty Association Act.