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Insurance Coverage Disputes for Firearms and Shooting Claims: CGL, Homeowners, Auto, Concealed Carry Policies

Understanding the Intentional Acts Exclusion, Specialty Insurance, and Other Complexities

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will provide attorneys across all practice areas much needed guidance and context for evaluating insurance coverage for firearms and shooting liability claims under different kinds of policies, as well as best practices and strategies for alleging or defending claims. Both the attorney seeking to recover for damages and businesses and homeowners needing to defend claims will benefit from understanding this complex and evolving topic.


Claims arising from firearms incidents are fact intensive, typically involve tragic circumstances, and often give rise to significant insurance coverage issues. Policyholders can be disappointed when they count on the insurer to defend them in or cover claims under commercial general liability, homeowners, or auto insurance, only to find that an exclusion may apply.

At the heart of coverage disputes are the “intentional acts” and “firearms” exclusions contained in many policies and the number of occurrences that will apply. "Intentional" may be defined not in terms of motive, but of foreseeability, and state law approaches to self-defense and mental illness can significantly impact coverage. Even where coverage does not exist for the perpetrator, it may extend to family members, business owners, and employers.

Businesses impacted by gun violence may also look for coverage in policies for commercial property, business interruption, workers’ compensation, or even directors and officers, which can give rise to unique coverage issues.

Finally, gun manufacturers, retailers, shooting ranges, hunting/shooting clubs, and content providers have unique liability and coverage needs. These businesses are facing emerging claims that include false advertising, aiding and abetting, and unfair practices, requiring consideration of coverage under specialty policies.

Listen as this expert panel discusses coverage issues for firearms and shooting incidents under business and individual policies.



  1. Types of coverage available for firearms incidents
    1. General liability
    2. Homeowners, auto
    3. Concealed carry
  2. Role of federal and state laws
  3. Who is entitled to coverage under the policy
  4. Exclusions
    1. Intentional acts exclusion, generally
    2. Intentional acts exclusion, specific cases
    3. Other exclusions
  5. The effect of criminal activity on coverage
  6. Trial strategies


The panel will review these and other relevant issues:

  • The scope of coverage in typical business or individual policies
  • The intentional acts exclusion and other exclusions that may apply
  • Strategies for evaluating coverage and the duty to defend for business owners
  • Evolving liability landscape for firearm manufacturers and businesses targeted by shootings
  • The role of insurance in promoting gun behavior and safety measures, and emerging insurance products


Reed, William
William R. Reed

Sherman & Howard

Mr. Reed is experienced in resolving a wide variety of commercial matters both at trial and on appeal. He has helped...  |  Read More

Steinlage, Michael
Michael J. Steinlage


For more than 15 years Mr. Steinlage has focused his practice on advising and representing clients in consumer and...  |  Read More

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