Recognizing the public policy implications of an unsettled, recurring coverage issue involving crumbling concrete foundations in thousands of Connecticut homes, U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill recently certified the following insurance coverage question to the Supreme Court of Connecticut:

What constitutes a “substantial impairment of structural integrity” for purposes of applying the “collapse” provision of this homeowners’ insurance policy?1
Continue Reading What is a Collapse? Crumbling Concrete Case is Catalyst for Coverage Query Certified to State Supreme Court

Insurance policies are all different. Some policies include a definition of the word “collapse” and some do not. The Kentucky Supreme Court in Thiele v. Kentucky Growers Ins. Co., 2017 WL 2598494 (Ky. June 15, 2017), recently addressed whether termite infestation and damage which caused substantial damage was covered under the policy’s collapse provision.
Continue Reading Supreme Court of Kentucky Holds “Substantial Impairment” Is Not Collapse

A recent case filed in the Western District of Texas highlights the importance of retaining experts to assist in evaluating the cause of loss early in the claim process. In White Lodging Services Corporation et al v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company,1 a hotel development and management company filed suit against Liberty Mutual over a collapse claim that arose during the construction of a hotel. The policyholder had a builders’ risk insurance policy issued by Liberty Mutual.
Continue Reading Collapse Claim Highlights the Importance of Retaining Experts Early in the Claim Process

Recently, Connecticut has had an increase in insurance claims for crumbling foundations due to faulty foundations poured in the 1980s and 1990s. Some foundations poured during this time frame contained a mineral, pyrrhotite, which can cause cracking when it reacts with oxygen and water. It is estimated nearly 20,000 foundations poured contain the mineral.
Continue Reading Crumbling Foundation and the Collapse Provision in a Homeowners Policy

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 collapse is not sufficient.2

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

The meaning of the term “collapse” in a first-party property insurance policy may often be litigated. My colleague, Nicole Vinson has written previous blogs specific to the topic of collapse coverage. In Experts and Photos – Clearing Up Collapse Coverage, Part V, she explained the two different doctrines involving collapse coverage:

The traditional view holds collapse is covered when there is either a falling down or a caving-in – into a flattened form of rubble. But the liberal view holds a collapse happens when there is a substantial impairment of structural integrity, without an actual collapse of the building or part thereof being necessary.


Continue Reading Court Defines “Collapse”

“Chance favours the prepared mind.”
― Louis Pasteur

You better have an expert for a collapse case.

One thing is for sure, collapse coverage claims are fact specific and the exact language within the policy is crucial in determining whether the damage at the building will be covered. Counsel also needs to be very familiar with court decisions of a particular jurisdiction to understand how the courts decide these cases. My prior posts have explained the evolution and two main views of the coverage. The traditional view holds collapse is covered when there is either a falling down or a caving-in – into a flattened form of rubble. But the liberal view holds a collapse happens when there is a substantial impairment of structural integrity, without an actual collapse of the building or part thereof being necessary.

Continue Reading Experts and Photos – Clearing Up Collapse Coverage, Part V