Note to all of you who own tigers: Your homeowners insurance policy probably does not cover you if you are using your tiger as a prop during a photo shoot and your tiger attacks and kills the model being photographed. This is a ruling of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Doug Billingsley’s parents, Keith and Sharon Billingsley, owned the Siberian tiger that was under Doug’s control while 17 year old Haley Hilderbrand was having her senior high school picture taken. During the shoot the tiger attacked and killed Haley. Her parents sued and won a judgment, but Safeco Insurance Company refused to pay on the Billingsley’s homeowner’s insurance policy because it said the accident occurred during a business venture and business ventures were excluded from the policy. The 10th Circuit agreed.
Lesson to be Learned: If you are going to use your tiger as part of your business venture or in connection with attempting to earn money, don’t do it until you purchase business insurance that covers your tiger related activities.
P.S. Maybe its not a good idea to use wild animals like lions and tigers anywhere around people – even if you have business insurance.