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The insurer must defend the property owner in drowning



A unit of RSUI Group Inc. is required to defend a property owner during a security guard drowning in 2016, an appeals panel said Wednesday and agreed with a lower court that its automatic exclusion policy does not apply.

Security Guard Calvin Marcus McCullers Jr. worked as a private security guard, "sitting post" inside his vehicle, when a thunderstorm passed through, causing a nearby current to rise and flood, according to Wednesday's ruling by the Fifth U.S. District Court in New Orleans in Covington Specialty Insurance Co. v. USAI LP, Lara Briggs-Tafel, JD.

After his vehicle was flooded, McCullers asked for help, but could not move safely to higher ground. His vehicle was engulfed in floodwaters and when McCullers escaped, floodwaters dragged him and him overboard and into a creek, the court said. His body was not found until almost two months later.

The property that McCullers guarded was allegedly owned by Dallas-based USAI, which had a policy issued by RSUI Manchester, New Hampshire-based Covington Specialty Insurance that had an exclusion for any damages that occur when using a car, according to domen.

After McCuller's survivor sued USAI in court, it asked Covington to defend it, which the insurer denied based on the auto-exclusion. U.S. The district court "correctly concluded that Covington could not establish, from a legal point of view, either that the incident occurred within the territorial boundaries of the vehicle, or that the vehicle was a causal cause of McCuller's death," the panel said, insuring the insurer defended the property owner.

Lawyers in the case did not respond to a request for comment.

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