This blog was co-authored by: Anitah Ndhlovu, Candidate Attorney

The insured, under a homeowner’s insurance policy, lived in a house with their 18 year old daughter, an “insured” under the policy, who ignited her father’s bedspread intending to make him mad. She could not put out the fire which destroyed the house.  The claim against the insurers failed because “the policy does not cover Intentional Loss by an insured”.

Intentional Loss was “any loss arising out of an act committed (1) by or at the direction of an insured and (2) with the intent to cause a loss”.  The exclusion applied whether the loss was caused directly or indirectly and regardless of any other cause or contributing event.  Under Kansas law, the insured must have intended the act which caused some kind of injury or damage.  Intent to cause injury or damage can be actual or inferred from the nature of the act if the consequences are substantially certain to result from the act.  It is not essential that the harm be of the same character or magnitude as that intended.  As long as the daughter intended to start the fire, and understood the fire would damage the bedspread, the exclusion applied.  It was also held that the exclusion was not ambiguous, as the claimants submitted.

Taylor v LM Insurance Corporation US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit No 20-3166