Insurance Law Lesson 99: Negligent Supervision

An “occurrence” is an accident. General liability policies coverage “bodily injury” and “property damage” caused by an “occurrence.” They do not cover such injury if it was not caused by an accident.

With respect to an assailant, this analysis can be straightforward. If an assault was intentional, that is not an occurrence. But, if the assault takes place while the assailant is working, then the assailant’s employer might be sued for negligent supervision (or some variation). Regardless of the employee assailant’s intention, it cannot be said that the employer intended for there to be injury. Is that an “occurrence”?

This past year, at least two states’ Supreme Courts have tackled this exact question, and came out on opposite sides.

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