No insurance cover for assault because of assault & battery exclusion (US)

A Missouri court found that the insurer had no duty to indemnify a bar and its owner for an incident that occurred where a bar employee attacked a patron in the parking lot causing bodily injury.  The policy contained an exclusion for bodily injury “arising out of an assault, battery, or physical altercation involving insured’s employees”.

“Assault” included any attempt or threat to inflict injury.  “Battery” meant intentional or reckless physical contact with or use of force against a person.  “Physical altercation” meant a dispute between individuals in which bodily injury was sustained.   Insurance companies are not required to indemnify the insured for injuries that are excluded by the policy.  The plaintiff alleged that the claim was based on negligence hiring of the employee with violent tendencies but the exclusion included events “caused by or arising out of an insured’s failure to properly supervise or keep the insured’s premises in a safe condition” and excluded “negligent hiring, training or supervision”.  There was no concurrent proximate cause because the event was not covered by the policy.

This case illustrates how a comprehensively worded exclusion for events that should not be covered will be upheld.

Great Lakes Insurance SE v Ray Perrin case no: 21-1725 US Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit