By Jerry Carter. Many liability insurance policies contain exclusions of coverage for intentional acts committed by the policy holder. A question sometimes arises as to whether the policy holder loses coverage when it commits an intentional act that results in consequences that are different in nature or magnitude than those that were intended. In a June 27, 2012 Order granting summary judgment, Department B6 of the Business Court stated that an intentional assault caused the policy holder to lose insurance coverage even though the policy holder argued that he did not anticipate the injuries that resulted.
A policy holder under a homeowner’s liability insurance policy struck a victim in the face with his closed fist, causing severe bodily injury. There was no dispute that the act of striking the plaintiff was intentional, and the policy holder was prosecuted for, and pleaded “no contest” to battery for that intentional act.
The liability insurance policy contained an exclusion for bodily injury which is either “caused intentionally by or at the direction of the insured” or “results from any occurrence caused by an intentional act of any insured where the results are reasonably foreseeable.” The victim argued that the damages resulting from the battery were covered by the homeowner’s liability insurance policy because the extent of the injuries suffered was unforeseeable. The Business Court rejected the victim’s argument, stating that the insured party’s intention to strike the victim sufficed to trigger the intentional act exclusion and thereby remove the incident from insurance coverage.