June 13, 2014 Articles

Fixing the Broken Public Policy Model for Molestation Coverage Cases

Courts frequently fail to consider all constituents affected when they decide whether the state’s public policy permits coverage for sexual molestation claims. Just as bad, courts make empirical conclusions about the effects of insurance on society without empirical support

by Ravi S. Shankar [1]

Courts frequently fail to consider all constituents affected when they decide whether the state’s public policy permits coverage for sexual molestation claims. Just as bad, courts make empirical conclusions about the effects of insurance on society without empirical support. These decisions accordingly fail to uphold the public interest. That must change.

A Comprehensive Public Policy Model

In considering whether public policy bars coverage for molestation claims, courts should apply a comprehensive public policy model, weighing the interests of the four—and only four—parties affected by the existence (or not) of insurance. These are the two contracting parties and two third parties affected: the victim and society. Any model failing to account for these four constituents, who collectively comprise the public, is incomplete by its very nature.

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