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Autoerotic Asphyxiation Ruling Creates Circuit Split on Coverage

April 30, 2019, 2:26 PM

Minnesota Life Insurance Co. doesn’t owe accidental death benefits to the widow of a man who died while engaging in autoerotic asphyxiation, the Seventh Circuit ruled.

Autoerotic asphyxiation—the practice of cutting off one’s oxygen supply to increase sexual pleasure—is an intentionally self-inflicted injury that’s not covered by the Minnesota Life plan, the Seventh Circuit said in an April 29 opinion by Judge Michael B. Brennan.

The ruling drew a dissent and created a circuit split with the Second and Ninth circuits, which have reversed coverage denials in cases of autoerotic asphyxiation. Those courts held that what killed the insured wasn’t ...

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