Debunking the Myth that Insurance Coverage is Not Available or Allowed for Intentional Torts or Damages

40 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2011 Last revised: 23 Oct 2014

See all articles by Christopher C. French

Christopher C. French

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law

Abstract

Over the years, a myth has developed that insurance coverage is not available or allowed for intentional injuries or damage. This myth has two primary bases: one, the “fortuity” doctrine, which provides that insurance should only cover losses that happen by chance; and two, public policy, which allegedly disfavors allowing insurance for intentional injuries or damage. This article dispels that myth. Many types of liability insurance policies expressly cover intentional torts including trademark infringement, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, defamation, disparagement, and improper employment practices such as discrimination. In addition, punitive damages, which typically are awarded for intentional misconduct, are covered by insurance policies in most jurisdictions. Further, a public policy analysis actually favors allowing insurance recoveries for intentional injuries or damage. No empirical evidence has been offered to support the argument that the availability of liability insurance increases misconduct by policyholders while the public policy interests of compensating innocent victims and enforcing the terms of contracts are advanced by allowing insurance for intentional injuries or damage.

Keywords: intentional torts, insurance, punitive damages, fortuity, employment discrimination, infringement, disparagement

Suggested Citation

French, Christopher C., Debunking the Myth that Insurance Coverage is Not Available or Allowed for Intentional Torts or Damages. 8 Hastings Bus. L. J. 65 (2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1814308

Christopher C. French (Contact Author)

The Pennsylvania State University (University Park) – Penn State Law ( email )

Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA 16802
United States

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