18 | SEPTEMBER 2017 | Claims Magazine | PropertyCasualty360.com
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, affirmingadistrict court’s decision, has ruled that an
intentional acts exclusion in a homeowners’ insurance policy conflicted with the Illinois Standard Fire Policy and, as a result,
did not preclude parents from recovering
for damage suffered after their son intentionally set fire to their home.
On August 5, 2014, Wesley Streit Jr. set
fire to the house where he lived with his
parents, Barbara and Wesley Streit. He
subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge
of aggravated arson.
The Streits submitted a claim to their
homeowners’ insurance carrier, Metropolitan Insurance Company, which refused to
cover the fire damage based on the intentional acts exclusion in the policy.
The Streits sued, claiming that the exclusion was inconsistent with the Illinois
Standard Fire Policy as promulgated by
the Illinois director of insurance.
The U.S. District Court for the North-
ern District of Illinois held that the Met-
ropolitan policy had to conform to the
Standard Fire Policy but that a question
remained as to whether the Streits had
played any role in directing or consent-
ing to their son’s arson. The Streits and
Metropolitan then stipulated that the
Streits were innocent of any wrongdoing
related to the fire, and based on that stip-
ulation, the district court granted partial
summary judgment in favor of the Stre-
its, ruling that the Metropolitan policy
impermissibly narrowed the coverage
mandated by the Illinois Standard Fire
Policy. The district court entered judg-
ment in favor of the Streits in the amount
Metropolitan appealed to the Seventh
Circuit. The Metropolitan policy excluded coverage for an intentional Loss,
meaning any loss arising out of any intentional or criminal act committed:
A LOOK AT SOME OF THE LEGAL DECISIONS IMPACTING INSURANCE ACROSS THE COUNTRY
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Son’s Arson Doesn’t Bar
Recovery Despite Exclusions
By Steven A. Meyerowitz, Esq.