I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t read it with my own eyes. In what is likely a first, The Kansas City Star reports that GEICO has been ordered to pay $5.2 million after one of its customers failed to disclose his HPV-positive status before engaging in unprotected sex in his car.
Here’s how it went down. A woman, identified in court documents as M.O., was in a relationship with a man, identified as M.B., in late 2017. M.B. owned a vehicle insured by GEICO around this time. Also around this time, M.O. and M.B., shall we say, engaged in physical activities inside said vehicle.
Fast forward to February 2021, when M.O. submits a petition to GEICO. She alleges that she contracted HPV, a sexually transmitted infection that’s associated with increased risk of cervical cancer, through sexual contact with M.B., who was now her ex. The woman claimed M.B. knew he had HPV and acted negligently in not disclosing this before engaging in unprotected sex.
GEICO declined to settle with M.O.; in court documents, the insurance company says what happened “did not arise out of the normal use of the vehicle.” This sent the case to arbitration.
In May 2021, the arbitrator found M.B. liable for not disclosing his status as someone infected with HPV, awarding M.O. $5.2 million in damages ... to be paid by GEICO.
GEICO filed motions to toss out the award and have the case re-heard, requests which were denied. On appeal, a three-judge panel found that, once a court had determined a judgment and an amount for monetary damages, the insurance company did not have a right to “relitigate those issues.” In an opinion issued this week, the Missouri Court of Appeals upheld the $5.2 million judgment against GEICO.
Looks like car insurance covers way more than I thought.