Connecticut courts continue to expand the “motor vehicle use exclusion” in homeowners’ insurance policies. In New London County Mut. Ins. Co. v. Bialobrodec, 137 Conn. App. 474 (2012), the appellate court held that negligent entrustment of a vehicle is not covered based on the motor vehicle exclusion.
In Bialobrodec, Andrzej and Grazyna Bialobrodec (parents) were sued for the negligent supervision of their son, Adrian Bialobrodec. The suit alleged that they allowed Adrian to purchase and thereafter to give the decedent access to and use of a motorcycle, which the decedent operated and crashed, resulting in his death.
The estate of the decedent brought suit and the Bialobrodecs sought coverage under their homeowners’ insurance policy.
The insurer commenced a declaratory judgment against the parents and Adrian, claiming that it had no duty to defend the Bialobrodecs because the causes of action arose out of the decedent's use of a motor vehicle, or the negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle to the decedent, and the conduct and damages alleged against the parents were excluded from the policy’s coverage.
The exclusion language stated:
"1. Coverage E–Personal Liability and Coverage F–Medical Payments to Others do not apply to 'bodily injury' or 'property damage' … [f] [a]rising out of: (1) The ownership, maintenance, use, loading or unloading of motor vehicles … owned or operated by or rented or loaned to an 'insured' …."
The decedent’s estate, in an effort to prove coverage, argued that its claims were not "arising out of the use of the motorcycle”; they were negligent supervision causes of action arising out of the parents' failure to supervise their son.
The appellate court disagreed, finding the facts alleged by the decedent’s estate left no doubt that the injuries for which the estate seeks to recover arose out of the decedent's use of the motorcycle owned by an insured under the policy issued by the insurer. The appellate court found that the estate was unable to separate the negligent supervision legal theory from the factual allegations of the complaint against the parents pertaining to the decedent's accident and injuries arising from his use of the motorcycle.
The Bialobrodec ruling allows insurers to apply the motor vehicle exclusion in a homeowners’ insurance policy if the underlying factual allegations cannot be separated from the use of a motor vehicle.