Court filings: $1 million won’t be enough to cover turnpike mess

Court filings: $1 million won’t be enough to cover turnpike mess

Source: Beaver County Times (PA), December 26, 2011
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About 900 claims have been filed by motorists who suffered damage to their vehicles after a truck spilled thousands of gallons of liquid asphalt on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in November, and those claims will likely total more than the trucking company’s insurance policy will cover, according to court records filed on Friday.

Travelers Insurance, the primary insurance carrier for MTS Transport, said the claims filed by motorists after the spill along 40 miles in the eastbound lanes of the turnpike will likely exceed the $1 million limit on the Maryland trucking company’s policy. In the motion for an expedited summary judgement, Travelers said the total amount of claims — which includes an unspecified claim from the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission — is still being calculated.

Both the insurance carrier and the trucking company are looking to Hallmark Insurance for help; MTS claims it has a supplemental policy with Hallmark that would cover damages up to $4 million and has sued Hallmark to force it to pay.

Hallmark has not responded to the MTS suit, but in its motion, Travelers said Hallmark has said an exclusion for pollution or environmental events means it does not have to cover damages related to the Nov. 22 incident; Travelers also said Hallmark would not pay without a court order forcing it to do so.

The MTS truck, heading east on the turnpike, spilled the asphalt material starting around mile marker 10, in Beaver County, and the Oakmont service plaza, in Allegheny County. Hundreds of vehicles were damaged by the asphalt and many were disabled.

With an expedited summary judgement, Travelers said it can begin processing claims immediately.

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