Pella Chronicle

November 20, 2012

Supreme Court rejects appeal in case heard at IHCC

MATT MILNER
CNHI

OTTUMWA — The Iowa Supreme Court backed a lower court ruling in deciding an insurance case it heard during a session in Ottumwa.

The case, Michelle Postell v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co., was brought to the supreme court after a lower court denied her insurance claim for her home. Postell's estranged husband, David, set fire to the home in a suicide attempt.

The district court ruling found against Postell, saying the fire triggered the policy's "cause a loss" provision, in which the company is not required to pay if a deliberate act destroys or damages the insured property. The supreme court agreed.

The ruling held that, though Postell was not responsible for the fire, the policy's exclusion of payment for damage caused by "any insured" person was sufficient to deny payment.

"David understood the consequences of his acts, specifically, the danger he was creating by lighting the house on fire," wrote Justice David Wiggins in the court's opinion.