New Jersey was bitterly cold last week. My new northern friends and policyholder clients were wondering why I showed up for work when I could have stayed in Florida warmth. Unfortunately, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was catching the wrong type of heat last week in his scandal. Here is a picture of us when he was having fun and before the cold reception started:

The bitter cold weather started me researching "ice dam" cases. We often get these in our Denver office, but I have not personally handled one. In my research of the topic of ice dam cases, I came across an old 1874 New York case which has an interesting discussion about insurance and causes of loss.

In Allison v. Corn Exchange Insurance Company, 57 N.Y. 87 (1874), the Court noted:

"It is quite impossible to conceive of any disaster, marine or otherwise, which is not produced by the agency of several causes operating in a greater or less degree. Shipwrecks on the sea and conflagrations upon the land, do not, ordinarily, result from a single cause, but generally from the combined influence of many unfriendly elements. An insurance against damage by fire, subjects the underwriter to liability if the insured property receives injury consequent upon fire, from water, breakage and various other incidents of such a misfortune. But for the fire the other incidents would have been inconsequential, and hence the fire, however occasioned, is the proximate cause, and if a high wind spreads the conflagration beyond all calculation, it is still the fire, and not the wind, in the judgment of the law, that produces the calamity and makes the insurer responsible, and yet, but for the unforeseen wind, the fire itself would have been comparatively harmless. We must, if we can, give full effect to the contract of insurance made between the parties, and, in the effort to do that, we must at once discard the suggestion that the excepted injury from ice related only to those incident to the perils of navigation."

It is very important for all in this business to pay attention to the facts of how losses are caused. Even if unknown, just as my friend Governor Christie has claimed, those can be critical to an outcome.


Positive Thought for the Day

Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down. It’s staying down that’s wrong.

-Muhammed Ali