A federal court in South Carolina held that a commercial motor vehicle policy does not cover the insured for an underlying motor vehicle accident where neither the insured nor the insured vehicle were involved in the accident and where the policy’s MCS-90 endorsement was not implicated. Trustgard Insurance Company v. Brown, et al. , 2017 WL 5991866 (D. S.C. Dec. 4, 2017)

An insurer issued a policy to an insured providing coverage for one vehicle and for one driver. A driver rear ended a trailer being towed by another vehicle being operated by another driver. The insured’s only connection to the underlying accident was the display of his Interstate Commerce Commission motor carrier number on the rear-ended vehicle.

The court rejected the argument that the MCS-90 endorsement, which ensures that federally-mandated coverage for regulated motor carriers is in place, applied. The court explained that the MCS-90 endorsement applies even if the vehicle in the accident is not a covered auto, but it is only triggered when no other policy provides sufficient coverage under federally mandated standards. Acknowledging that the endorsement does not apply once the federally-mandated minimums are satisfied, the court considered that another policy actually attached to the vehicle involved in the accident was available to satisfy any possible judgment against Brown. Finding the federally-mandated minimums to be satisfied, the court refused to construe the MCS-90 endorsement as coverage that can be stacked onto sufficient and available liability limits.