Contrary to most New York policies which require notice to be given “promptly”, Connecticut policies tend to require notice “as soon as practical.”
Prior to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in Arrowood Indemnity Co. v. King,1 Connecticut law held that an insurer could be entirely discharged from its duty regarding liability on an insurance contract when the insured failed to provide proper notification of a loss, and the delay was either unexcused or unreasonable. Contrary to New York, which does not care if the insurer is prejudiced by the delay, Connecticut would allow the case to proceed if the insured could show the insurer was not prejudiced by the delay of notice. The insurer had a continuing duty to provide coverage absent a showing of “material prejudice,” even if the literal terms of the notice provision were not met.”2 The burden of establishing timely notice or lack of delay was on the insured.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals asked the Connecticut Supreme Court to address the questions regarding fact circumstances that can be considered in determining whether there has been compliance with the duty to notify an insurer of an incident/accident for which coverage is claimed.
The Connecticut Supreme Court overruled Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Murphy, holding that the insurer now must prove it has been prejudiced by the insured’s alleged failure to comply with a notice provision.3
Just because the insurer now has the burden to show it was prejudiced to disclaim coverage for late notice of claim, if an insured makes multiple repairs prior to the insurer’s ability to inspect the loss (as is often required in a policy to ‘mitigate further damage’), the insurer will have a much stronger argument if they are not afforded the chance to view the property prior to repair or replacement of damaged components.
As always, read your policy for exact language contained, but notify your carrier immediately if any damage is seen.
1 Arrowood Indem. Co. v. King et al., 605 F.3d 62 (2d Cir. 2010).
2 Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Murphy, 206 Conn. 409, 418, 538 A.2d at 223.
3 Arrowood Indem. Co. v. King, 39 A.3d 712, (Conn. 2012).