Insurer tries to get out of paying

Insurer tries to get out of paying

An insurance company sued by the Archdiocese of Boston is filing a countersuit. Lumbermens Mutual Casualty says that not only should it not be forced to pay out any outstanding claims, but that it wants to be reimbursed for millions already paid out. The company claims that since sexual abuse incidents were not “accidents” then they shouldn’t be forced to pay.

“There is no coverage for damages which were the proximate result of the intentional criminal conduct of priests who committed acts of sexual abuse against minors,” the company argued in the counterclaim filed in US District Court in Boston.

Excuse me, but isn’t all sexual harassment criminal? How can you have an accidental sexual harassment? What’s the point of having sexual harassment insurance if it doesn’t cover actual incidents of harassment?

Even a lawyer for an abuse victim sides with the archdiocese on this one.

But Jeffrey A. Newman, the lawyer who represents many of the victims of clergy sexual abuse, said the claims filed on behalf of victims were based on negligence by church officials, not on the acts of individual priests, and therefore the insurers should be forced to pay for the settlements. “For them to say, “We don’t have to pay because these were criminal acts,’ is really avoidance, and it’s irrelevant,” Newman said. “I don’t think it has any merit.”

I hope the court sees this for what it is and throws it out.

Update: Having read the comments below and Diogenes’ analysis, I’m inclined to change my view of the situation and defer to them.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli

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