The insurer should defend the property proprietor within the occasion of the drowning of the guard – company insurance

A unit of RSUI Group Inc. is required to defend a property owner on the drowning of a security guard in 2016, an appeals court said Wednesday, agreeing with a lower court that its policy's auto-exclusion does not apply.

Security guard Calvin Marcus McCullers Jr. was a private security guard and "sat" in his vehicle when a thunderstorm hit and flooded a nearby creek, according to the 5th Court of Appeal's ruling on Wednesday in New Orleans, Covington Specialty Insurance Co. v. USAI LP, Lara Briggs-Tafel, JD.

After his vehicle was flooded, Mr. McCullers called for help but was unable to move safely to a higher level. His vehicle was inundated by floods and when Mr. McCullers escaped, it and he was washed over an embarkation point and into a stream, the verdict said. His body wasn't found until just under two months later.

The property that Mr. McCullers was guarding allegedly belonged to Dallas-based USAI, which issued a policy from RSUI's Manchester, New Hampshire, Covington Specialty Insurance that included an exclusion for injuries from the use of a car from the verdict.

After Mr McCuller's survivors sued USAI in a state court, Covington asked Covington to defend it, which the insurer declined due to automatic exclusion. USAI filed a lawsuit against the insurer in the US District Court in Dallas, which held the exclusion to be inapplicable.

It was unanimously upheld by a three-person appeals court. The District Court "rightly concluded that Covington has not legally established that the incident occurred within the territorial limits of the vehicle or that the vehicle was a causal factor in McCuller's death," the panel said and held the Insurers firmly defend the property owner.

The lawyers on the case did not respond to requests for comment.

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