Barrows v. American Family: Coverage for Wrongful Death Claim Brought by Non-Insured Parent Barred by Intra-Insured Suit Exclusion

A recent ruling by the Wisconsin Court of Appeals held, as an issue of first impression, that an intra-insured suit exclusion found in a homeowner’s insurance policy barred coverage for a wrongful death claim brought by a non-insured parent.  In Barrows v. American Family Insurance Company, 2014 WI App 11,  the Court applied an intra-insured suit exclusion that precluded coverage for “bodily injury to any insured” to deny coverage to a non-parent for a claim caused by an insured’s bodily injury.

The facts of this case are tragic.  An 11-year-old boy died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound at the home of his mother and her fiancé. Barrows, the boy’s father, brought a wrongful death suit against  the mother and fiancé and their homeowner’s insurer, American Family Insurance Company.  American Family moved for summary judgment on the grounds that both the policy’s intra-insured suit exclusion and intentional acts exclusion barred coverage for the wrongful death claim.

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