Monthly Archives: August 2011

Household exclusion provision in Policy addressed by Fla. Supreme Court

In State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Gilda Menendez, the Florida Supreme Court addressed the following issue, which was in conflict between the Third and Fourth District Courts of Appeal, that is:  “whether the household exclusion barring coverage for ‘any bodily injury to’ ‘any insured or any member of an insured’s family residing in the insured’s household’ unambiguously eliminates coverage for bodily injuries suffered by the members of the household of a permissive-driver insured.  The Florida Supreme Court found that this exclusion is unambiguous, and excludes coverage for bodily injuries by members of the household of a permissive-driver insured.

Specifically, the Florida Supreme Court addressed the precise language of the policy exclusion, even addressing the grammatical structure, as quoted below:

In the text of the household exclusion itself–excluding coverage for “any bodily injury to” “any insured or any member of an insured’s family residing in the insured’s household”–the reference to “the insured’s household” cannot reasonable be understood as denoting only “the named insured’s household.”  The interpretation advanced by the respondents ignores the preceding reference in the exclusion to “any insured or any member of an insured’s family.”  The initial reference in the exclusion to “any insured” governs the succeeding reference to “an insured’s family” and “the insured’s household.”  In the last phrase, the word “the” points back to the preceding reference to “any insured“and “an insured’s family.” The is “used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent refers to someone or something previously mentioned or clearly understood from the context where the situation.” The exclusion’s  reference to family members “residing in the insured’s household” therefore encompasses family members residing in the household of any insured.

Id. at *10.

To read the complete Florida Supreme Court decision, please click on the link below:

State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company v. Gilda Menendez, SC10-116

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