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Deadly Tiger Attack Not Covered Under Homeowner's Policy

This has all the hallmarks of a "Burning Legal Question," but sorry Bruce, I couldn't wait.

The 10th Circuit released an opinion (PDF) Monday affirming a district court's ruling that a homeowner's insurance policy, issued by Safeco Insurance Company of America, did not cover damages assessed in a wrongful death case against the insureds as a result of their 700-lb. Siberian Tiger mauling a 17-year-old Kansas girl who was posing with said tiger as part of a photo shoot for her high school yearbook. 

Go ahead, go back and read it again. It still says the same thing. Hello, Montecore much?

There was no "large wild animal" exclusion in the policy, but rather a ho-hum carve-out for any liability arising out of "business pursuits." The courts did not buy the homeowners' argument that Animal Entertainment Productions, the venture the homeowners used to make some money by renting out their "tigers, bears, lions, cougars, monkeys, and alligators" for various purposes, had wound down and the home zoo was, at the time of the attack, "more akin to a hobby." Just because the business was not profitable didn't make it any less a business.

The moral of the story here: Make sure to purchase Tiger Insurance.

Posted by Eric Lipman on April 14, 2010 at 01:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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