South Carolina Court of Appeals Finds Coverage for Asbestos Claim Despite Exclusion of Product and Transaction Risks – Litigation, Mediation and Arbitration

United States: South Carolina Court of Appeals Finds Coverage of Asbestos Claim Despite Exclusion of Product Risks and Operations

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The South Carolina Court of Appeals found that a transactional and product risk exclusion did not prohibit coverage for a mesothelioma victim exposed to asbestos in the home. Covil Corp. vs. Pa. Nat’l Mut. Case. Ins. Co., no. 2020-001239, 2022 SC App. LEXIS 1 (SC Ct. App. Jan. 5, 2022).

The insured, an asbestos installer, was sued by an individual who alleged that he had contracted mesothelioma due to exposure to his father-in-law who worked for the insured. The exhibition would have taken place at their home. The insured’s insurer denied coverage, claiming that the exclusion of completed transaction and commodity risks in the policy precluded coverage. The insurer concluded that, even if it applied to bodily injury resulting from the insured’s product, since the exposure had occurred off the insured’s premises after physical possession of the products had been abandoned, coverage was excluded.

The court disagreed and noted that the risk insured by the exclusion is the possibility of the product causing bodily injury or property damage other than the product or the completed work itself. Thus, he concluded that the exclusion applied only where the damage was caused by a defective product placed in the course of trade, or where the damage was caused by the completed work of an insured and neither neither had happened.

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