Friday, January 19, 2018

Penn State president, insurer differ on coverage in cases of abuse

WASHINGTON — Penn State is adequately covered to handle lawsuits stemming from the sexual abuse scandal that has enveloped the campus, its president said, repeating that the university hopes to settle many of them "as quickly as possible" even though its insurer has sought to limit claims.

Rodney Erickson told CBS' Face the Nation program in an interview taped for broadcast today that the university has general liability coverage like any institution of its size.

"We believe that we are adequately covered," he said in a clip posted Saturday on the program's website.

"In addition to that, we hope to be able to settle as many of these cases as quickly as possible," Erickson said. "We don't want to, if at all possible, drag victims through another round of court cases and litigation. If we can come to an agreement with them, with their attorneys, we believe that would be the best possible outcome in this whole very, very difficult, tragic situation."

Retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was convicted last month of abusing 10 boys over 15 years in one of the worst scandals in sports history.

Penn State's general liability insurer sought last week to deny or limit coverage for Sandusky-related claims. Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance argued that Penn State withheld key information needed to assess risk.

In a memo filed in court in Philadelphia, the company argued that Penn State failed to disclose that it had information about Sandusky that "was material to the insurable risk assumed by PMA." The company, which has long insured the university, also argued that its policies after March 1, 1992, were amended to exclude "abuse or molestation" and that coverage for such behavior is excluded as a matter of public policy in Pennsylvania.

On Thursday, attorneys announced that a man has come forward to say that he was the one that prosecutors say Sandusky assaulted in the school's football locker room showers. Another accuser has filed paperwork indicating an additional complaint is in the works.

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