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Florida Fourth DCA rules that watercraft exclusion in homeowner’s policy precluded coverage for policy owner’s son while operating policy owner’s boat notwithstanding “severability” clause in policy

On March 31, 2021, in Aiello v. ASI Preferred Corp. et al, No. 4D20-1078, the Florida Fourth DCA affirmed a summary judgment entered for the defendant homeowner insurance provider against its insured in a declaratory judgment action which had been filed by the insured after the company denied coverage for a boating accident. Although the policy at issue had a watercraft exclusion, the policy also contained a “severability” clause stating that the insurance applies separately to each insured. Reading this clause in conjunction with a provision which limits the watercraft exclusion to vessels owned by “an insured,” the plaintiffs argued that the policy afforded coverage to the policy owner’s son, the operator of the vessel, who was insured under the policy but was not an owner of the vessel. The Fourth DCA rejected the plaintiff’s argument as an unreasonable interpretation of the policy. The Court distinguished a Fifth DCA case, Premier Insurance Company v. Adams, 632 So. 2d 1054 (Fla. 5th DCA 1994).

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