On certification of a question of law from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, SCOTT M. MATHESON, JR., certifying judge.
The question certified is determined.
BY THE COURT
1. On certified question from the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, this court holds: Notice to nonrenew an automobile insurance policy that complies with the procedure set out in K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 40-3118(b) and a consistent provision in the policy itself is sufficient to effectively nonrenew coverage, regardless of whether there is a permissible substantive basis for nonrenewal under K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 40-276a(a) and consistent policy language. However, if the insurer violates the substantive provisions of the statute and/or the policy, the insured may pursue a remedy for breach of contract and the insurer may be subject to administrative penalties under the Unfair Trade Practices Act, K.S.A. 40-2401 et seq.
Christopher P. Sweeny, of Turner & Sweeny, of Kansas City, Missouri, argued the cause, and John E. Turner, of the same firm, Donald W. Vasos, and David A. Hoffman, of Vasos Law Offices, of Fairway, and Bert S. Braud, of The Popham Law Firm, of Kansas City, Missouri, were with him on the briefs for appellants.
Theresa Shean Hall, of Manz Swanson & Mulhern P.C., of Kansas City, Missouri, argued the cause, and John J. Fogarty, of the same firm, was with her on the brief for appellee.
Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company (Nationwide) sued the children of Melvin L. Briggs (collectively the Briggses) in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, seeking declaratory judgment that it had effectively nonrenewed Melvin's insurance policy before the automobile accident that led to his death. Because Nationwide had complied with statutory and policy requirements for notice of nonrenewal, it was granted summary [298 Kan. 874] judgment. The Briggses appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, arguing that Nationwide also had to comply with K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 40-276a(a), which sets out permissible reasons for coverage termination.
This case now comes to us from the Tenth Circuit pursuant to the Uniform Certification of Questions of Law Act, K.S.A. 60-3201 et seq. The certified question, as worded by the Tenth Circuit, is:
" Under Kansas law, is proper notice sufficient to non-renew insurance coverage regardless of whether there is an authorized basis for non-renewal under the policy or [K.S.A.] 40-276a?"
Because a certified question requires us to conduct purely legal analysis, see Burnett v. Southwestern Bell Telephone, 283 Kan. 134, 136, 151 P.3d 837 (2007), we take the liberty of rephrasing the Tenth Circuit's question to clarify the precise legal issue presented:
Is notice to nonrenew an insurance policy that complies with the procedure set out in K.S.A. 2012 Supp. 40-3118(b) and the policy sufficient to force a lapse of coverage, regardless of whether a proper substantive basis for ...