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A federal appeals court has ruled for the second time against a nonprofit seeking coverage for two prizes it was obligated to pay in a holes-in-one contest.
In 2017, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, ruled in All Risks Ltd. et al. v. Old White Charities Inc; Bankers Insurance LLC that a hole-in-one from 137 yards is not covered when the insurance policy says it must be from at least 170 yards.
The case was filed by White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia-based Old White Charities Inc., a nonprofit that provides instruction for sporting and other recreational facilities, in connection with a hole-in-one contest during the 2015 Greenbrier Classic and Pro-Am golf tournament in White Sulphur Springs. Cockeysville, Maryland-based All Risks is a wholesaler.
Old White Charities then filed suit against the insurer, Richmond, Virginia-based Bankers Insurance, in U.S. District Court in Charleston, West Virginia, on state law claims of negligence, reasonable expectations and fraud. The district court granted Bankers summary judgment dismissing the case.
A unanimous three-judge appeals court panel affirmed the lower court’s ruling. “The application for this insurance policy, which Bankers completed on Old White’s behalf, contained a warranty clause stating that the hole and to be at least 150 yards in distance for any hole-in-one to be covered by the policy,” said the ruling.
“Because the contract was clear and unambiguous regarding a distance requirement of 150 yards, Old White failed as matter of law to establish an objectively reasonable belief that a hole-in-one would be covered by the policy even if the hole was less than 150 yards in length.
“The district court therefore correctly determined that Old White could not recover under the doctrine of reasonable expectations, said the panel, in affirming the district court’s ruling.
Attorneys in the case could not be reached for comment.
A hole-in-one from 137 yards is not covered when the insurance policy says it must be from at least 170 yards, says a federal appeals court, in denying a nonprofit coverage for two prizes it was obligated to pay in a golf charity event.