Holidaymaker Denied Coverage for Injuries After Provoking Scuffle

Athens 1

An Australian holidaymaker injured in a scuffle with a Greek public official will not receive compensation from his insurer due to his own actions in escalating the incident.

The traveler visited a land registry office to inquire about potential ownership of a plot of land. When officials were unable to locate any records linked to him, he became aggressive and verbally abused them. The public servant's statement, relied upon by insurer AWP Australia, alleges that the holidaymaker struck him with his bag and strap. In response, the official hit the traveler on the head with a picture frame.

AWP Australia declined the claim based on a policy exclusion for losses caused by deliberate or illegal acts. The holidaymaker admitted to swearing at the public servant but claimed he was provoked by mocking and humiliation. He also stated that his bag accidentally hit the man during a moment of panic.

Despite acknowledging that the holidaymaker sustained more severe injuries than the public servant, the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) upheld the insurer's decision. AFCA determined that the traveler's swearing constituted a deliberate act that escalated the situation.

AFCA rejected the traveler's explanation for striking the official, noting that he could have responded in a non-escalatory manner. The adjudicator concluded that the holidaymaker's actions were a "deliberate act" that triggered the policy exclusion.

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