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New York Times: Insurers Bowing Out of 15-Passenger Van Coverage, Wigington Interview

Jun 06, 2019

In 2002, the Colorado School Districts Self-Insurance Pool and Guide One, a leading insurer of churches and their vehicles, both stopped issuing new coverage for the increasingly dangerous 15-passenger vans, manufactured by Ford and DaimlerChrysler. Two other church insurers have issued safety advisories against these vehicles.

According to The New York Times, it is unusual for insurance companies to eliminate an entire category of coverage; however safety issues cannot be ignored. The high center of gravity in these vans gives it a high propensity to rollover, particularly when the number of occupants in the vehicle increases.

Jeff Wigington of Wigington Rumley Dunn & Blair LLP, who has represented plaintiffs in dozens of cases involving the vans, was quoted in the piece as explaining they ought to be recalled, nevertheless federal officials of the National Traffic Safety Agency claim to be powerless to recall the vehicles, citing no specific mechanical defect. They issued an advisory warning to the public; however critics believe the response is as weak in response as it was to the Ford Explorer problem.

“With the Ford Explorer,”Jeff Wigington said, “it wasn’t until many people died and there was public outcry that the manufacturer took steps to redesign the vehicle.”The agency’s warning, said Wigington, is “merely a Band-Aid on a bleeding wound.”