In light of the recent events in Washington there has been a good deal of discussion as to whether the attacks on the Capitol amounted to acts of ‘insurrection’. Indeed the sole charge under the Article of Impeachment passed by the House of Representatives is for ‘Incitement of Insurrection’. The Article alleges that President Trump incited a crowd who: ‘unlawfully breached and vandalized the Capitol, injured and killed law enforcement personnel, menaced Members of Congress, the Vice President, and Congressional personnel, and engaged in other violent, deadly, destructive, and seditious acts.’ It is for the US Senate to decide if the charge is proven.
This article offers no comment on the impeachment proceedings but surveys the meaning of ‘insurrection’ as a covered and excluded insurance peril in English and Commonwealth case law. The article concludes with comments on issues that we often see in practice.