Does An Exclusion Provision In An Insurance Policy Exclude Coverage for the Wilful Acts of Another ?
In Arenson v. National Auto. & Cas. Ins. Co. (1955) 45 Cal. 2d 81, 83 286 P.2d 816, the named insured's minor son intentionally set fire to school property.
The school district obtained a judgment against the insured.
The insured filed a claim under his personal liability policy, which the insurer denied based on the policy exclusion for intentional injury.
The insured successfully sued for declaratory relief.
In ruling for the insured, the California Supreme Court stated: "It has been held that an exclusion provision similar to the one involved here is reasonably understood as designed to prevent indemnifying one against loss from his own wrongful acts and cannot be construed to exclude coverage for the wilful acts of another in the absence of a clear expression showing such intent.
This construction is further supported by decisions which hold that a policy extending coverage to several persons creates several obligations on the part of the insurer, so that a particular insured is not precluded from recovering merely because the claim of another insured is barred under the terms of an exclusion provision. " (Id. at pp. 83-84.)