Tag Archives: Ambiguity

Broken Water Main Damage: Flood or Not Flood Under Homeowner’s Insurance Policy?

In a recent court opinion,1 the New Jersey Appellate Division interpreted a homeowner’s insurance policy’s water damage exclusion and determined whether damage from a broken municipal water main under a public street was covered under the policy. In that case, a homeowner brought an action against his insurer for breach of contract after the insurer … Continue Reading

Collapse Loss Ambiguity Determined With Dictionary Help

Feenix Parkside LLC owed a commercial building that incurred a partial collapse to their ceiling. When Feenix sought coverage for the collapse, the insurer—Berkley North Pacific—denied coverage for the loss. When Feenix reported the loss, they stated the collapse was due to decay, which was a gradual decline in strength and soundness.… Continue Reading

Church vs. Church – Court Uses Dictionary to Define “Decay”

Easthampton Congregational Church submitted an insurance claim to Church Mutual Insurance Company when their roof suddenly collapsed. Church Mutual denied coverage for faulty construction after they sent their engineer, Joseph Malo, out to inspect the property. Mr. Malo noted, and the insured agreed, there was “progressive failure of the fasteners used to attach the layers … Continue Reading

What Constitutes an “Abrupt Collapse”?

Most property insurance policies provide additional coverage for direct physical loss of or damage to covered property caused by or resulting from an “abrupt collapse.”1 In Hoban v. Nova Casualty Company,2 a California federal district court recently addressed the meaning of the phrase “abrupt collapse,” which the commercial insurance policy at issue defined as “an … Continue Reading

Colorado Joins a Growing List of Jurisdictions Allowing Depreciation of Labor Costs When Determining Actual Cash Value

While I often argue that depreciating labor simply does not make sense, insurers continue to push the question of whether the depreciation of labor costs in Actual Cash Value policies is acceptable. Though several jurisdictions have rejected the depreciation of labor, surprisingly, the recent trend of jurisdictions touching upon the subject has been to allow … Continue Reading

“Commencing” Deemed Ambiguous in Property Insurance Policy

A federal District Court in Illinois has determined that the term “commencing” is ambiguous in a property insurance policy that provides coverage for “loss or damage commencing [d]uring the policy period…[w]ithin the…United States of America.”1 At issue in Temperature Service Company, Inc. v. Acuity, was whether property damage, that began before the policy period, but … Continue Reading

Do All Insurance Policies Require a Total Collapse to Trigger Collapse Coverage?

In California, if a property insurance policy does not specifically require a collapse to be complete or actual falling down to trigger coverage, then an imminent (i.e., impending) collapse will probably trigger coverage.1 However, on the flipside, if a policy does specifically require a collapse to be “complete” or “actual” falling down, then an imminent … Continue Reading

Ambiguous Terms in Arkansas

There is a new case out of Arkansas discussing ambiguous terms within policies.1 I have not previously blogged on any matter from Arkansas, so this seemed like a good opportunity. My practice covers mainly the Midwest states, so I don’t want to leave anyone out. So, this is for all of you in the “Land … Continue Reading
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