A US court found the insurer liable to a storage company employee, who was hit by a van a fellow employee was driving, because a vague exclusion did not exclude the assets of a driver who was off duty.

The vehicle hit a ladder on which the plaintiff was standing.

The policy excluded liability cover relating to injuries suffered by an employee at the hands of a fellow employee “arising out of and in the course of the employee’s employment”. The policy did not define “fellow employee”.

Like South African law, under Florida law if an exclusionary clause includes terms that are not defined and are not stated with sufficient clarity, the exclusion will be read in favour of the insured. Because the driver was not engaged in his employment when he drove the van into the ladder, he was not a fellow employee in the course of his employment at the time. Therefore the exclusion did not apply.

(Empire Fire & Marine Insurance Co v Scott Floyd, case number 15-11438)