Insurer Has No Duty to Indemnify NY Insured for the Wrongful Death of Another Insured.

The Fourth Department, in Cragg v. Allstate Indem. Corp., was recently presented with an issue of first impression. The plaintiff-decedent and her mother lived with her grandparents and were covered under the grandparent’s homeowners’ insurance policy. The decedent drowned in the grandparent’s pool and the decedent’s father, who did not live with the decedent, brought an action against the mother on the decedent’s behalf.

The court held that the insurer did not have a duty to defend the mother against a wrongful death action brought by a noninsured party for the death of another insured party. The court pointed to the policy’s coverage exclusion clause, which excluded coverage for “bodily injury to an insured person. . . . whenever any benefit of this coverage would accrue directly or indirectly to an insured person.” In other words, it would go against the purpose of the policy to provide coverage to the decedent’s mother and allow her to benefit from such coverage.

Thanks to Georgia Stagias for her contributions to this post. if you have any questions, please contact Bob Cosgrove at rcosgrove@wcmlaw.com.

http://www.loislaw.com/advsrny/flwhitview.htp?lwhitid=9544136