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You can search the entire site. or go to the recent opinions, or the chronological or subject indices. Ayres v. United Services Automobile Association (05/25/2007) sp-6127

Ayres v. United Services Automobile Association (05/25/2007) sp-6127, 160 P3d 128

     Notice:   This opinion is subject to correction  before
     publication  in  the  Pacific  Reporter.   Readers  are
     requested to bring errors to the attention of the Clerk
     of  the  Appellate  Courts, 303  K  Street,  Anchorage,
     Alaska 99501, phone (907) 264-0608, fax (907) 264-0878,
     e-mail corrections@appellate.courts.state.ak.us.


            THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF ALASKA

LESLIE AYRES, )
) Supreme Court No. S- 12018
Petitioner,)
) Superior Court No.
v. ) 4FA-04-2808 CI
)
UNITED SERVICES AUTOMOBILE ) O P I N I O N
ASSOCIATION, )
)
Respondent. ) No. 6127 May 25, 2007
)

          Petition  for Review from the Superior  Court
          of  the  State  of  Alaska,  Fourth  Judicial
          District,  Fairbanks, Niesje J.  Steinkruger,
          Judge.

          Appearances:   Joseph L. Paskvan,  Paskvan  &
          Ringstad,  P.C.,  Fairbanks, for  Petitioner.
          Daniel T. Quinn, Richmond & Quinn, Anchorage,
          for Respondent.

          Before:    Fabe,  Chief  Justice,   Matthews,
          Eastaugh,  and Bryner, Justices.  [Carpeneti,
          Justice, not participating.]

          MATTHEWS, Justice.


I.   INTRODUCTION
          This case presents the question of whether AS 21.89.020
requires an insurance company to obtain a written waiver from the
insured  before  issuing  a  policy  with  uninsured/underinsured
motorist  (UIM) coverage that is less than the liability coverage
selected   by  the  insured.   We  affirm  the  superior   courts
conclusion that a written waiver is not required.  Alaska Statute
21.89.020  only  requires  a  written  waiver  when  the  insured
declines all UIM coverage.
II.  FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS
          The  facts in this case are not disputed.  Leslie Ayres
was  the  owner  of  a motor vehicle insurance policy  issued  by
United   Services  Automobile  Association  (USAA).   The  policy
provided  liability coverage that would pay a maximum of $100,000
per  person  in  the event of an accident and UIM  coverage  that
would pay a maximum of $50,000 per person.
          In  2001  Ayres  was  injured in a car  accident.   She
recovered  the  policy limits of the liability insurance  of  the
driver  who was at fault.  Since her damages exceeded the  limits
of  the  at-fault drivers liability coverage, Ayres made a  claim
under  her  UIM coverage with USAA.1  USAA refused to  pay  Ayres
more than her $50,000 UIM limit.
          Ayres filed a complaint in superior court requesting  a
declaratory judgment that USAA must provide UIM coverage equal to
her liability coverage of $100,000.  At the same time Ayres filed
a  motion for a statement of law interpreting AS 21.89.020. Ayres
argued  that AS 21.89.020 requires an insurance company to obtain
a  written waiver from the insured if it issues a policy with UIM
coverage that is less than the policys liability coverage.2  USAA
filed an opposition to Ayress motion and filed a cross-motion  to
establish  that  the policy was in compliance  with  Alaska  law.
USAA  argued that it was only required to obtain a written waiver
from the insured if the insured completely rejected UIM coverage.
          Superior  Court  Judge  Niesje  J.  Steinkruger  denied
Ayress  motion on the grounds that AS 21.89.020 did  not  require
the insurance company to obtain a written waiver from the insured
in  cases  in which the UIM coverage was less than the  liability
coverage selected by the insured but equal to or higher than  the
statutory minimum.  The court partially denied USAAs request  for
a  declaration that its policy was in compliance with Alaska law,
finding  unresolved issues of fact as to whether  USAA  made  the
statutorily  required  offers of UIM coverage.3   Ayres  filed  a
motion for reconsideration, which the superior court denied.
          Ayres  petitioned this court for review, asking whether
under  AS  21.89.020 an insurance company must obtain  a  written
waiver  when it issues a policy where UIM coverage is  less  than
liability coverage.  We granted the petition.
III. DISCUSSION
          Issues of statutory construction are reviewed de novo.4
In  construing the meaning of a statute, we look to the language,
legislative  history,  and purpose of the  statute,  interpreting
statutes  under a sliding-scale approach where [t]he plainer  the
statutory  language  is,  the  more convincing  the  evidence  of
contrary  legislative purpose or intent must be.5  We  strive  to
give effect to the legislatures intent and adopt the rule of  law
that  is  most  persuasive  in light of  precedent,  reason,  and
policy.6
          Alaska   Statute  21.89.020  is  part  of  the   Alaska
Insurance  Act.  It sets out required motor vehicle  coverage  in
Alaska.7   The  question before us in this  case  is  whether  AS
21.89.020  requires  an insurance company  to  obtain  a  written
          waiver from the insured before issuing a policy in which the UIM
coverage is less than the liability coverage.  The statute as  it
existed  at  the  time of Ayress accident in  20018  provided  in
relevant part:
               (c)   An   insurance  company   offering
          automobile liability insurance in this  state
          for  bodily injury or death shall,  initially
          and   at   each   renewal,   offer   coverage
          prescribed    in    AS    28.20.440[9]    and
          28.20.445[10] or AS 28.22[11] for the protection of the
          persons  insured  under the  policy  who  are
          legally  entitled  to  recover  damages   for
          bodily   injury  or  death  from  owners   or
          operators of uninsured or underinsured  motor
          vehicles.  The limit written may not be  less
          than   the  limit  in  AS  28.20.440  or   AS
          28.22.101.[12]   Coverage  required   to   be
          offered  under this section must include  the
          following options:
          
               (1)  policy  limits equal to the  limits
          voluntarily purchased to cover the  liability
          of  the  person insured for bodily injury  or
          death;
          
               (2) except when the coverage consists of
          motorcycle  liability insurance,  and  except
          for a named insured required to file proof of
          financial responsibility under AS 28.20 or an
          applicant required to file proof of financial
          responsibility under AS 28.20, policy  limits
          in  the  following amounts when these  limits
          are  greater than those offered under (1)  of
          this subsection:
          
               (A) $100,000 because of bodily injury to
          or  death of one person in one accident, and,
          subject  to  the same limit for  one  person,
          $300,000 because of bodily injury to or death
          of two or more persons in one accident;
          
               [(B) - (E) mirror (A) but contain higher
          dollar  amounts,  the  highest  of  which  is
          $1,000,000/$2,000,000]
          
               (3) other policy limits at the option of
          the insurer.
          
               (d)   An   insurance  company   offering
          automobile liability insurance in this  state
          for  injury  to  or destruction  of  property
          shall   offer  coverage  prescribed   in   AS
          28.20.440  and 28.20.445, or AS  28.22,  with
          limits not less than those prescribed  in  AS
          28.20.440  or  AS  28.22.101,  to  cover  the
          insured  persons liability for injury  to  or
               destruction of property, for the protection
          of  the persons insured under the policy  who
          are  legally entitled to recover damages  for
          injury to or destruction of the covered motor
          vehicle from owners or operators of uninsured
          or underinsured motor vehicles.
          
               (e)  The coverage required under (c) and
          (d)  of this section may be waived in writing
          by  the  insured in whole or in part.   After
          selection of the limits by the insured or the
          exercise  of the option to waive the coverage
          in  whole  or  in  part, the insurer  is  not
          required to notify any policy holder  in  any
          renewal, supplemental, or replacement policy,
          as  to  the  availability of the coverage  or
          optional limits, and the waived coverage  may
          not be included in any renewal, supplemental,
          or  replacement policy.  The insured may,  at
          any   time,   make  a  written  request   for
          additional   coverage   or   coverage    more
          extensive  than  that  provided  on  a  prior
          policy.
          
          Ayres  notes  that  subsection  .020(e)  requires   the
insured   to  waive  in  writing  the  coverage  required   under
subsection  .020(c).   She argues that this  refers  to  coverage
required  to  be  offered  under the mirror  image  provision  of
subsection .020(c)(1).  She contends that in this case subsection
.020(c)(1)  required the offer of UIM coverage  of  $100,000  per
person  (equal  to  the  limits of the liability  coverage  Ayres
selected),  and  that USAA could not write UIM coverage  for  the
amount  she selected, $50,000 per person, without first obtaining
from her a written waiver of UIM coverage of $100,000 per person.
          We  disagree  that  a written waiver  of  $100,000  per
person   UIM  limits  was  required.   Alaska  Statute  21.89.020
indicates  that  an  insurance company must offer  the  different
levels  of  UIM  coverage specified in subsections .020(c)(1)-(2)
but  may  not  write  a policy for less than the  minimum  amount
specified   in   AS  28.20.440  and  AS  28.22.101.    Subsection
.020(c)(1)  reflects  one  of several options  for  the  coverage
required  to be offered.  Subsection (e) requires written  waiver
of  the coverage required under (c) but not of each option of the
[c]overage required to be offered.13  UIM coverage in the  amount
of liability coverage actually written for an insured is required
to  be offered, but it is not required to be written.  Subsection
.020(e)   concerning  required  coverage  does   not   refer   to
.020(c)(1), since the latter refers to one level of coverage that
must  be offered, not the minimum level of coverage that must  be
written.
          The  written  waiver requirement in subsection  .020(e)
applies  to  subsection  .020(c)s  mandatory  floor:   The  limit
written  may  not  be less than the limit in AS 28.20.440  or  AS
28.22.101.   Under  AS 28.20.440(b)(3) the minimum  UIM  coverage
          required is equal to the minimum liability insurance required by
AS 28.20.440(b)(2): $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.14
Alaska  Statute  21.89.020(e) therefore requires  that  insurance
companies  obtain  a  written waiver from insureds  who  wish  to
decline  all coverage, including this minimum level.   Subsection
(e) applies, in other words, to insureds who want no UIM coverage
at any permissible level.
          Provisions of the MVSRA and the AMAIA relating  to  the
written  rejection  of UIM coverage support this  interpretation.
As  already noted, AS 28.20.445(e)(3) and AS 28.22.201(a)(3) each
provide  that  UIM  coverage may be rejected by  the  insured  in
writing.   The AMAIA is more specific than the MVSRA as  to  what
coverage  is  being  referred to since it  adds  after  the  word
coverage the phrase required under this chapter.15  But the  same
meaning  is  implicit in the word coverage  as  used  in  section
28.20.445(e)(3) of the MVSRA.  In both acts the coverage required
is  $50,000  per person and $100,000 per accident.   If  insureds
wish to reject this coverage, they must do so in writing.
          In  our two most recent cases concerning the meaning of
AS 21.89.020(c) and (e) we also expressed the view that (e) calls
for  a  written waiver of UIM coverage only when UIM coverage  is
completely waived.
           In  Peter v. Schumacher Enterprises, Inc. the  insured
had   purchased  liability  and  UIM  coverages  with   identical
$50,000/$100,000 limits.16  She contended that she was not advised
that  higher  UIM limits were available and that she  would  have
purchased higher limits if she had known she could.17   She  also
argued  that any offers of higher limits had to be in  writing.18
We  rejected Peters contention that offers had to be in  writing,
but  found that there were genuine issues of material fact as  to
whether  she was advised that she could purchase higher limits.19
We  described  the  operation of the statute in  an  introductory
statement as follows:
               Alaska   Statute  21.89.020(c)  requires
          insurance  companies to offer  in  automobile
          liability   policies  UM/UIM  coverage   with
          minimum  limits  of $50,000  per  person  and
          $100,000    per   accident.    In   addition,
          subsection  (c)(2)  requires  that   optional
          higher    limits    be    offered    up    to
          $1,000,000/$2,000,000.     Subsection     (d)
          requires insurance companies to offer minimum
          limits  of $25,000 for UM/UIM property damage
          coverage.  Subsection (e) provides that [t]he
          coverage required under (c) and (d) . . . may
          be  waived in writing by the insured in whole
          or in part.[20]
          
          Later  in  the  opinion  we stated  that  the  coverage
required  language of subsection (e) referred to  minimum  limits
prescribed in subsection (c) not to optional limits:
               The  text  of  subsection  (e)  makes  a
          distinction  between  coverage  required  and
          optional limits.  Coverage required  must  be
               waived in writing, but optional limits in the
          second  sentence of (e) is a subject separate
          from   required   coverage.    The   coverage
          required by subsections (c) and (d) is UM/UIM
          for  bodily  injury and UM/UIM  for  property
          damage.   This  coverage  must  be  purchased
          unless  the  buyer waives it in writing.   If
          the  coverage  is not waived in  writing,  it
          must be for the minimum limits prescribed  in
          subsection  .020(c)  and  (d).   The   higher
          limits  that must be offered under subsection
          .020(c)(2)(A)-(E) need not be accepted.  They
          are thus optional rather than required.[21]
          
It   bears  repeating  that  the  minimum  limits  prescribed  in
subsection  (c)  referred to in this statement  are  the  minimum
limits  described in the earlier introductory statement,  $50,000
per person and $100,000 per accident.
          In  GEICO v. Graham-Gonzalez we also indicated  that  a
written  waiver as called for by subsection (e) is only  required
when no UIM coverage is selected.22  We stated with reference  to
the  second  sentence of subsection (e) that it exempts  insurers
from  the  offer requirement of (c) on policy renewals  once  the
insured  has either waived UIM coverage altogether or selected  a
level  of  coverage.23  We also explained  that  the  purpose  of
.020(c) is to give insureds various options with respect  to  UIM
coverage:   to  select  coverage  with  limits  mirroring   their
liability limits, or with different limits, or to waive  coverage
altogether.24
          Ayres  argues that other cases establish that a written
waiver  is  necessary  before a policy can be  written  with  UIM
limits  less than liability limits.  She relies on several  cases
in  which this court has found an insurance companys offer to  be
deficient under AS 21.89.020(c).  In Burton v. State Farm Fire  &
Casualty Co. we invalidated under the mirror-image-offer clause a
provision  in the insurance policy that specifically  excluded  a
vehicle insured under the liability policy from the definition of
an underinsured motor vehicle.25  In State Farm Mutual Automobile
Insurance  Co. v. Harrington we required State Farm to cover  pre
judgment interest and attorneys fees under its UIM policy because
its  liability policy covered such items and they are  considered
elements  of  policy limits under Alaska law.26   In  State  Farm
Mutual  Automobile Insurance Co. v. Lawrence we found that  since
the  insured persons liability insurance covered punitive damages
its  UIM  insurance must do the same because of the mirror-image-
offer  requirement  of  AS  21.89.020(c)(1)  as  interpreted   in
Harrington.27
          In  these  cases,  once  we  found  the  offers  to  be
noncompliant because they invalidly excluded elements  of  policy
limits liability coverage28 and provided less [UIM] coverage than
.  .  . required29 by statute, we had to decide on a remedy.  The
remedy we selected was to reform the policies in question so that
the  coverage  they contained complied with applicable  statutory
requirements   and   the   mirror-image-offer    rule    of    AS
          21.89.020(c)(1).
          These  cases are distinguishable from the present case.
Each of them involved noncompliance with the offer requirement of
AS   21.89.020(c)(1)  or  its  predecessor.   In  this  case,  by
contrast,  no contention is made that USAAs offer did not  comply
with the statute.
          Ayres  also notes that in Lawrence, quoting Harrington,
we stated
          that   the   evident   purpose   of   section
          .020(c)(1) is to provide for the insured,  as
          an  injured claimant, the same benefit  level
          as  that  provided  by the insured  to  those
          asserting   claims   against   the   insured.
          Therefore,  automobile  insurance   companies
          must  offer  insureds  UM/UIM  coverage  that
          mirrors the insureds liability coverage.[30]
          
We  do  not retreat from that statement, given that it  is  clear
that  what  must  be  provided to insureds is an  opportunity  to
obtain  UIM coverage that is the equal of liability coverage.   A
more  complete explanation of the purposes of .020(c) as a  whole
is  set  out in GEICO v. Graham-Gonzalez.31  There we noted  that
[t]he purpose of .020(c) is to give insureds various options with
respect  to  UIM  coverage:   to  select  coverage  with   limits
mirroring their liability limits, or with different limits, or to
waive coverage altogether.32  Permitting an insurance company  to
issue a policy like Ayress without a written waiver is consistent
with these purposes.
          Our  interpretation  of  the statute  is  supported  by
policy  as  well.   Ayres argues that it makes no  sense  for  an
insured  to  purchase  liability  coverage  for  more  than   the
statutory  minimum  to protect others, and  .  .  .  not  protect
himself  or herself in an amount at least equal to the amount  of
the   liability  coverage  voluntarily  purchased.  However,  the
reasons  for  selecting  a given amount  of  liability  insurance
differ  from  the  reasons for selecting a given  amount  of  UIM
insurance.   Individuals purchase auto liability insurance  above
the  mandatory minimum to protect their assets in the event  that
they  are  to  blame  for  an  expensive  accident.   Individuals
purchase  UIM  insurance to protect themselves if  they  are  the
victims of an expensive accident.  While auto liability insurance
generally  does  not overlap with other forms of  insurance,  UIM
coverage  might overlap with medical, disability, life, or  other
forms of first-party insurance available to the purchaser.   When
this is the case, an insured might reasonably wish to purchase  a
lower level of UIM coverage than liability coverage.
IV.  CONCLUSION
          For  these reasons we AFFIRM the superior courts ruling
that  AS  21.89.020  does not require a written  waiver  when  an
insured  person  selects  UIM  coverage  with  limits  below  the
liability  coverage  voluntarily selected, so  long  as  the  UIM
limits meet the statutory minimums set out in AS 28.20.440 and AS
28.22.101.
_______________________________
     1     A  claimant may not pursue damages under her  own  UIM
coverage  until the limits of liability of all bodily injury  and
property damage . . . policies that apply have been used up.   AS
28.20.445(e)(1).    USAA  consented  to  Ayress   policy   limits
settlement with the tortfeasor.

     2    USAA did not obtain a written waiver from Ayres.

     3     Ayres has agreed that she will not pursue the issue of
whether USAA met the statutory offer requirements.

     4     Cook  Inlet Keeper v. State, Office of Mgmt. & Budget,
Div.  of  Governmental  Coordination, 46 P.3d  957,  961  (Alaska
2002).

     5     Muller v. BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc., 923 P.2d  783,
787-88 (Alaska 1996).

     6    Guin v. Ha, 591 P.2d 1281, 1284 n.6 (Alaska 1979).

     7      AS   21.89.020  prescribes  requirements  partly   by
referring  to provisions of two other statutes, the Alaska  Motor
Vehicle  Safety  Responsibility  Act  and  the  Alaska  Mandatory
Automobile  Insurance Act.  For a description of these  acts  see
notes 9-12 infra and accompanying text.

     8    AS 21.89.020 was last amended in 2004.  Ch. 172,  2, 3,
SLA  2004.  The 2004 amendments added the following to subsection
.020(c)(1):   coverage for punitive damages that might  otherwise
be  recoverable from an uninsured or underinsured person  is  not
required under this paragraph.  Id.  2.

     9    AS 28.20 is the Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act
(MVSRA).   AS 28.20.440 requires both UIM and liability  coverage
of  at  least  $50,000 per person and $100,000 per  accident  for
death  or  bodily  injury and $25,000 per accident  for  property
damage.

     10     AS  28.20.445  sets  out  a  number  of  requirements
concerning UIM coverage under the MVSRA.  Pertinent to this  case
is  subsection  (e)(3), which provides in relevant  part:   [UIM]
coverage . . . (3) may be rejected by the insured in writing.

     11     AS 28.22 is the Alaska Mandatory Automobile Insurance
Act (AMAIA).  We explained the function and interrelationship  of
the  MVSRA and the AMAIA in Progressive Ins. Co. v. Simmons,  953
P.2d  510,  520-22  (Alaska 1998).  Briefly, the  MVSRA   enacted
first in 1959  does not require insurance until a driver is in an
accident, but the acts policy content requirements apply  to  all
policies  written  in  the state.  The  AMAIA   enacted  in  1989
mandates insurance for all drivers of vehicles driven on the land-
connected  state  highway system.  AS 28.22.011.   The  two  acts
policy content requirements are generally parallel, but where one
requires  more  extensive coverage than  the  other  it  governs.
Simmons, 953 P.2d at 522.  AS 28.22.201(a)(3), the subsection  of
the  AMAIA parallel to AS 28.20.445(e)(3), governing requirements
concerning  UIM  coverage, provides that  UIM  coverage  required
under this chapter may be rejected by the insured in writing.

     12    AS 28.22.101 sets out general coverage requirements and
prescribes minimum UIM and liability policy limits of $50,000 per
person  and $100,000 per accident for death or bodily injury  and
$25,000 per accident for property damage.

     13    AS 21.89.020(c)(1) (emphasis added).

     14     AS  28.22.101 sets out the same requirements  minimum
liability   insurance  of  $50,000/$100,000,  with  minimum   UIM
coverage at the same level.

     15    AS 28.22.201(a).

     16    22 P.3d 481, 491 (Alaska 2001).

     17    Id. at 487.

     18    Id. at 491.

     19    Id.

     20    Id. at 484 (emphasis added).

     21     Id. at 492 (emphasis added).  Although we referred to
the higher optional limits that must be offered with reference to
.020(c)(2)   rather   than  (c)(1)  and  (2),   this   was   both
understandable  and  correct  in  the  context  of  Peter.    The
liability  coverage  purchased  in  Peter  was  at  the   minimum
permissible level, and thus the UIM limits required to be offered
under  (c)(1)  were  identical to the  minimums  required  to  be
written under (c).  Id. at 491.

     22    107 P.3d 279, 285 (Alaska 2005).

     23    Id. (emphasis added).

     24    Id. at 287 (emphasis added).

     25    796 P.2d 1361, 1363-64 (Alaska 1990).  Burton involved
the  version  of  AS  21.89.020 that existed prior  to  the  1990
amendments.   Id.  at 1363 n.2.  In that version  subsection  (c)
read in full as follows:

               (c)   An   insurance  company   offering
          automobile liability insurance in this  state
          for   bodily  injury  or  death  shall  offer
          coverage  prescribed  in  AS  28.20.440   and
          28.20.445  or  AS 28.22.010 -  AS  28.22.130,
          with  limits  equal  to at  least  the  limit
          purchased  voluntarily to cover  the  insured
          persons liability for bodily injury or death,
          for  the  protection of the  persons  insured
          under the policy who are legally entitled  to
          recover  damages for bodily injury  or  death
          from  owners  or  operators of  uninsured  or
          underinsured   motor  vehicles.   The   limit
          written may not be less than the limit in  AS
          28.20.440 or AS 28.22.010.
          
(Emphasis  added.)   The pre-1990 version of subsection  (e)  was
identical  to  the current one.  The 1990 amendment  removed  the
highlighted text from the body of the paragraph, inserted  it  as
(c)(1),  and added the current (c)(2) and (c)(3). It also deleted
the words at least from the highlighted text and prefaced (c)(1)-
(3)  with the following sentence: Coverage required to be offered
under  this section must include the following options.  Ch.  78,
4,  SLA  1990.  The statute numbers referred to in the text  were
also  updated  in the 1990 version, but they refer  to  the  same
statutes.

          The  pre-1990 version of the statute was similar to the
current  one,  in that the insurance companies were  required  to
write  UIM  coverage equal to the statutory minimum of  liability
coverage  and  to offer coverage equal to the liability  coverage
voluntarily  selected  by the insured. The  effect  of  the  1990
amendment  was  to  increase the number and content  of  the  UIM
offers  an  insurance  company  had  to  make.   Since  the   new
subsection (c)(2) required insurance companies to make additional
offers  above the level of liability insurance voluntarily chosen
and  the  new  subsection (c)(3) indicated that they  could  make
other  offers as well, it was no longer necessary to  include  at
least in the language of new subsection (c)(1).

     26     918 P.2d 1022, 1025-26 (Alaska 1996).  Holderness  v.
State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., 24 P.3d 1235, 1237 (Alaska 2001),
extended  this holding to UIM coverage contained in  an  umbrella
policy.   In  Holderness State Farm maintained that the  umbrella
policy  was not an automobile liability policy as defined  by  AS
21.89.020.   Id. at 1239.  The liability portion of the  umbrella
policy covered attorneys fees and prejudgment interest, but State
Farm  refused to pay them in connection with its UIM payments  to
Holderness.  Id.  Because we found that the umbrella  policy  was
an  automobile policy within the meaning of AS 21.89.020, the UIM
coverage  in the policy was reformed under Harrington to  provide
equal  liability and underinsured motorist coverage as prescribed
by  AS 21.89.020(c), and State Farm was required to pay attorneys
fees  and  prejudgment  interest.  Id.  at  1241.   In  2004  the
legislature  amended  the statute to add AS 21.890.020(i),  which
states  that  umbrella  coverage  is  not  considered  automobile
insurance for purposes of that section.  Ch. 172,  3, SLA 2004.

     27     26  P.3d  1074, 1079-80 (Alaska 2001).  In  2004  the
legislature amended AS 21.89.020(c)(1) to clarify that it did not
require  coverage  for punitive damages that might  otherwise  be
recoverable from an uninsured or underinsured person.   Ch.  172,
2, SLA 2004.

     28     In  Burton, Harrington, and Holderness  the  insureds
purchased  UIM  coverage with the same limit as  their  liability
coverage.  Holderness, 24 P.3d at 1237-38;  Harrington, 918  P.2d
at 1023; Burton, 796 P.2d at 1362.  Lawrence does not indicate at
any  point  that the liability limits were higher  than  the  UIM
limits.

     29    Burton, 796 P.2d at 1362-63.

     30     Lawrence, 26 P.3d at 1079-80 (quoting Harrington, 918
P.2d at 1026).

     31    107 P.3d 279 (Alaska 2005).

     32    Id. at 287.

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