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A Church’s Insurance Did Not Provide Coverage for Its Pastor’s Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Policy exclusion of criminal and intentional acts superseded its limited coverage of sexual misconduct claims, says court.

Missouri
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Key point 10-16.07. A liability insurance policy provides a church with a legal defense to lawsuits claiming that the church is responsible for an injury, and it will pay any adverse settlement or judgment up to the limit specified in the policy. Liability insurance policies exclude a number of claims. For example, some policies exclude injuries based on criminal or intentional acts and claims for punitive damages. A church has an obligation to promptly notify its insurer of any potential claim, and to cooperate with the insurer in its investigation of claims.

A federal court in Missouri ruled that a church’s insurance company was not obligated to provide a defense or indemnification to the national offices of a church denomination in the event of a sexual misconduct claim because of an exclusion in the policy or intentional acts.

Background

An adult male (the “plaintiff”) ...

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Posted:
  • June 28, 2022

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