Speeding Is Intentional Act that Voids Automobile Insurance Coverage

In Safeco v. Southern Farm Bureau, 2013 Ark. App. 696, the Court of Appeals today issued an opinion affirming a jury verdict finding that a teenager driving over the speed limit qualified as an intentional act under the intentional acts exclusion in a Farm Bureau auto liability policy; and therefore Farm Bureau had no duty to defend or indemnify.  The facts are recited at length in the opinion, and the analysis turns on the facts and the standard of review from the jury verdict.  The decision discusses Southern Farm Bureau v. Easter, and purports to distinguish Nationwide v. Lobov.  Also of interest was the fact that “intentional act” was not defined in the jury instructions, and the jurors resorted to a google search for a definition, yet the court found no jury misconduct on appeal.

The implications of this case are staggering.  Facts that were previously evidence of negligence may now trigger an intentional acts exclusion to void coverage altogether.  I expect the Arkansas Supreme Court will be asked to review this decision because of its sweeping impact.

The text of the decision is here:  http://opinions.aoc.arkansas.gov/WebLink8/0/doc/319206/Electronic.aspx

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