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Posts tagged "Auto-erotic asphyxiation"

Is death resulting from autoerotic asphyxiation a self-inflicted injury?

Is death resulting from autoerotic asphyxiation gone wrong an accident or is coverage under an accidental death insurance policy precluded by the policy's "self-inflicted injury" exclusion. A recent appellate court ruling overturned a lower court's determination that the language of the exclusion is ambiguous and therefore had to be resolved in favor of the insured under the doctrine of contra proferentem. In Tran v. Minnesota Life Ins. Co., 2019 WL 1894769 (7th Cir. April 29, 2019), the insurer denied benefits, claiming the insured's unintended self-strangulation was an "intentionally self-inflicted injury," an exclusion under the policy. The court of appeals, disagreeing with the lower court and with rulings from the Second and Ninth Circuits on this issue, reversed the district court's decision holding that a reasonable person would interpret [the decedent's] cause of death, autoerotic asphyxiation, to be an "intentionally self-inflicted injury."

What Does Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) Insurance Cover?

Most working people buy life insurance for their family's financial protection in the event of untimely death.  And many employee benefit plans that offer life insurance also provide  death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, which provides added protection in the event death or loss of limb occurs in an "accident," which the seminal appellate ruling in Wickman v. Northwestern National Insurance Co., 908 F.2d 1077 (1st Cir.1990) defined as a sudden and unintended occurrence, but which exclude situations where "a reasonable person ․ would have viewed the injury as highly likely to occur as a result of the insured's intentional conduct." While death by suicide is usually not covered by AD&D policies, despite the known risks of drunk driving, autoerotic asphyxiation, and other risky behavior, such situations are usually deemed accidents and compensable under AD&D coverage since few individuals either subjectively intend or expect to die while engaging in such conduct.

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