Tuesday, July 13, 2004

They're Not Telling Us Everything

The archdiocese of Seattle, I mean.  (So, you ask, what else is new?)  Recently the Portland archdiocese made international news when they sought chapter 11 bankruptcy relief to deal with large jury verdicts against it in its priest sex abuse cases.  The rationale is to give fair compensation to all who have suffered, rather than make a few victims (and their lawyers) ultra rich.  This is a noble sentiment--and the only rational response to jury awards which are unsupportable, either morally, or finanacially.  Seattle's archdiocese, by contrast, does not have this problem because Washington State, unlike Oregon, has tort reform which limits jury awards to actual or genuine damages, and disallows punitive damages.  But, and here's the big "but" the Archbishop of Seattle has claimed that insurance has covered its damages. 

Since WHEN!!!???   I work in the insurance defense industry, and I'm here to tell you that criminal acts are excluded by every insurance policy I've ever seen.  For example, if you're a homeowner, and you physically assault or rape your houseguest, your homeowner's insurance will NOT underwrite your criminal acts.  To do so would be against public policy.  And while I'm glad that the victims in Seattle are receiving compensation for their suffering and abuse, I cannot understand how or why an insurance company should pay for it. 

Do you know who pays for insurance companies' losses?  Other insurance companies...the insurers of the insurers, as it were.  Thus, indirectly, we are ALL paying for these settlements in the form of higher premiums and an increasingly unstable insurance industry.  (Unless, of course, the archdiocese is self-insured, which I'm not sure about, but they didn't mention that, so I am only mentioning the possibility in passing for this blog entry, in case it happens to be true, I can limit the egg on my face.) :)  

My view is that the archdiocese should pay for their own mistakes and criminal behavior--not foist that responsibility off on the rest of us.

1 comment:

hackermc said...

A little research can answer troublesome questions.  The Seattle Archdiocese is indeed "self insured" through a non-profit Catholic insurance fund.  For more information, click on this link:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2001974562_insure08m.html

Nevertheless, who's insuring the insurers?  That's a question that needs further investigation.