A federal court in South Carolina applied a hazing exclusion in a CGL policy to bar coverage for a fraternity ritual. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v. Admiral Ins. Co., 2017 WL 384305 (D. S.C. Jan. 25, 2017).

The claim arose after a pledge in a fraternity suffered injury during a hazing event that took place at the home of the vice-president of a chapter of the fraternity. The fraternity’s CGL insurer accepted coverage for the chapter but refused to defend or indemnify the vice-president.

The vice-president’s homeowner’s insurer settled with the claimant and sought indemnity from the fraternity’s CGL insurer, arguing that the vice-president was an insured under the fraternity’s CGL policy as a volunteer worker for the fraternity. The court disagreed, holding that even if the vice-president qualified as an insured, coverage was barred by an exclusion for hazing as to “insureds who participate in or direct others to participate in the hazing.” Irrespective of testimony showing that the vice-president did not himself carry out the hazing, the evidence at trial clearly showed that the vice-president controlled and participated in the hazing.