The news of the settlement made by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston contains a puzzling issue:

Father Coyne said that some of the $85 million for the settlement would come from the sale of up to 15 church properties. But most of it will come from church insurance policies. Church officials have said that Archbishop O’Malley will sue the insurance companies, if necessary.

Why should insurance companies reimburse the church for a civil suit arising out of their own criminal conduct? Don’t policies usually exclude that sort of thing? For example, I’m pretty sure one can’t kill one’s spouse and then collect the life insurance benefits.

I welcome comments from people with expertise on this issue.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    That is not always the case…

    If you have home owner’s insurance and you beat somebody up and they sue you, your home owner’s can be found liable EVEN IF it happened off your proporty.

    (Or in my state anyway.)

    That is why they call it a LIABILITY policy.

    I’m not in the biz but I know the above example really happened just a few years ago with someone I know.

    In your example, no, you could not collect the life insurance BUT if the wife’s family sued you for wrongfull death the homeowners policy would cover it. (or I’ve seen that in the past)