We often take the Homeowners All Risks forms for granted. Historically, the “all risk” nature of a homeowners form was not developed until the middle of the 20th Century. A 1959 law review article, All Risks of Loss v. All Loss: An Examination of Broad Form Insurance Coverages, was written by insurance defense attorney, John Gorman. It discussed this new form of coverage which provided insurance for “all risks of physical loss.”
Continue Reading Did The Homeowners All Risk Insurance Policy Provide More Coverage in 1959 Than It Does Today?

In December of 2016, I wrote about Sebo v. American Home Assurance Company,1 where the Florida Supreme Court reversed the appellate court’s adoption of the “Proximate Efficient Cause” doctrine and found that instead, the lower court should have applied the “Concurrent Causation Doctrine,” as laid out in Wallach v. Rosenberg,2 in a situation where both the excluded cause of faulty construction, combined with the covered causes of rain and wind resulted in a total loss to Sebo’s property.
Continue Reading Court Rejects Jury Instruction Inconsistent with Concurrent Causation Doctrine; Remands for New Trial

At a recent insurance conference, I heard a discussion in passing between industry folks about the trend of trying to kill the name “all-risk insurance policy.” The basic conversation was that we should stop using the all-risk language and use the form names more because the insinuation has been made that the policies labeled as all-risk get the reputation of being considered unlimited coverage and all-encompassing coverage that should apply regardless of the circumstances.

Now, for the record, we know that policies of insurance are written by insurance companies and when you read a policy, whether it is a named-peril or an all-risk policy, pages of text are devoted to making sure policyholders are prohibited from confusing an insurance policy with a warranty. It does not take a insurance guru to understand that policies of insurance are filled with exclusions and limitations. How those exclusions and limitations apply matters and the right consideration needs to be given when a policy has language that states: “coverage for damage of direct physical loss is covered unless excluded” or “coverage exists against all risks of physical loss unless otherwise excluded or limited” or something similar. Many blog posts have been devoted to showing just how much is excluded and limited in our insurance policies. The stripping away of coverage that was once found in homeowners and business owner policies has been done by those who write the insurance policies.

Continue Reading Policy Interpretation Matters for Coverage Application and Court Reminds Insurance Company that it Wrote the Policy

Sudden and Accidental impacts that come in the form of cars, trucks, tractors, or other motorized vehicle are covered under structure or Coverage A insurance under most policies.
Often, we encounter with weather related perils, but for policyholders who have suffered a claim loss of property damage caused by a vehicle that runs off the highway there are many additional concerns that are not as common place in other losses.

Continue Reading All-Risk Coverage Includes Damage to Buildings Caused by Vehicles that Plow into Buildings

We have often discussed the importance of the type of insurance policy involved and the difference it makes from a coverage perspective. For example, the burden of proof is different between a named-peril policy and an all-risk policy. Knowing the difference is important, and knowing what your rights are under the policy you have purchased from your insurance carrier is imperative. So, if you have an all-risk policy, and you have an accidental loss that occurs during the policy period, do you have the burden as the policyholder to prove the exact cause of the loss?

Continue Reading With an All-Risk Policy, Does the Policyholder Have to Specify What the Covered Peril Is?

This Labor Day weekend, you probably had family parties and barbecues and weren’t thinking about insurance claims issues and insurance policies. Rightfully so as it is a time to rest and reflect on all the hard work we do to contribute to the success and prosperity of our nation. I don’t profess to be a theologian by any means, but I recently came across some interesting cases discussing "act of nature"/"act of God" exclusionary language found in insurance policies. It would also be interesting to hear from other insurance claims practitioners who have come across these phrases in policies and claims they have handled.

Continue Reading Is The “Act Of God” Or “Act of Nature” Defense Misplaced in First-Party Property All-Risk Policies?

Les Knox and I had an interesting discussion regarding all risk insurance and named perils coverage while debating a loss on the Jersey Shore. Les referred to the policy as an "open perils" policy, and I referred to it as an "all risk" policy. The personal property coverage was written on a "named perils" basis. The trend is to refer to the modern "all risk" policy as an "open perils" policy, but I think it is largely semantics.

Continue Reading Open Perils and Named Perils Coverage–What is the Difference?

I have previously blogged about the pros and cons of purchasing earthquake insurance. This week, I write to discuss an associated topic – the differences between an all-risk and a named peril insurance policy, and which is better in a given situation.

Essentially, insurers write two kinds of policies for homeowners and small businesses: named peril and all-risk (also known as a comprehensive policy or an open peril policy by some insurers).

Continue Reading Named Peril or All-Risk Insurance: What’s the Difference and Which is Better in a Given Situation?

In litigation, parties’ burdens of proof are extremely important. Litigators must understand the burdens of proof applicable to the case they are involved in. Think of the difference between having to prove that a loss is covered pursuant to specific policy terms and having to prove only that a loss that was fortuitous and it affected the insured property. The first situation may be appropriate under a named-peril policy. The second is a policyholder’s burden of proof under an all-risk policy. A recent New York case involved the second situation and an all-risk policy.1

Continue Reading Policyholders’ Burden Of Proof Under All-Risk Policies Is Characterized As “Relatively Light”

California is prone to natural disasters. Just this last Sunday, Southern California was pummeled with rainstorms that drenched the area with intense downpours throughout the day. In Los Angeles County, evidence of this is all over as the affluent neighborhood of Hancock Park found itself underwater in various residential pockets. Even boutique stores along the famous Melrose Strip were flooded.

Continue Reading Earthquake Insurance Coverage in California is not covered under the “All Risk” Policy