When multiple events cause damage, is there coverage? If language in the policy addresses concurrent causes of loss, then that language usually answers the question. If the policy is ambiguous, then look to case law. This was recently discussed in Salem United Methodist Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa v. Church Mutual Insurance Company.1

Continue Reading Concurrent Causes of Loss Discussed in Recent Case

I have previously written about several Hurricane Sandy-inspired bills in New York and New Jersey, noting how they appear to have policyholder interests at the forefront of their terms. A little over a month ago, in Legislation Proposed In New Jersey To Eliminate Anti-Concurrent Cause Provisions From Insurance Policies, I wrote about a bill proposed in the New Jersey Legislature (A4467) that would eliminate anti-concurrent cause provisions excluding losses where both covered and non-covered perils occur at the same time. A similar bill was proposed in New York (A07455) to outlaw anti-concurrent policy provisions, as noted in my post, In Sandy’s Aftermath, A New York Congressman Proposes A Bill To Eliminate Anti-Concurrent Cause Provisions From Policies In New York.

Continue Reading Is There A Battle Going On Over Hurricane Sandy-Inspired Bills That Propose To Eliminate Anti-concurrent Cause Provisions From Policies?

A recent opinion was issued from a Florida appellate court involving a property insurance claim that stemmed from multiple losses. The Second District Appeals Court of Florida noted in the opinion that the multiple-peril loss issue has not often arisen in Florida case law history regarding first-party property insurance claims. The case is American Home Assurance Company v. Sebo.1 The facts of the case are as follows:

Continue Reading Florida Law On Multiple-Peril Losses

Those involved with Sandy claims in New York have likely become familiar with anti-concurrent cause provisions in property insurance policies. These provisions are favored by insurance carriers to support denials of coverage for hurricane losses. Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder recently proposed a bill (A07455) which would outlaw anticoncurrent policy provisions that exclude losses from occurrences where both covered and non-covered perils occur at the same time.

Continue Reading In Sandy’s Aftermath, A New York Congressman Proposes A Bill To Eliminate Anti-Concurrent Cause Provisions From Policies In New York

In my last post, I addressed the basics of concurrent causation here in New Jersey. The question that remains, however, is how New Jersey’s courts will interpret a policy containing a clause that denies coverage for a covered cause of loss when accompanied by an excluded cause of loss. Such anti-concurrent causation clauses are commonplace in contracts of insurance.

Continue Reading Anti-Concurrent Causation Clauses in New Jersey

With all of the claims arising from Hurricane Sandy, the issue of what damage is covered under an insurance policy is extremely important to most people. As with most hurricanes, the question becomes what damage was caused by flood and what damage was caused by wind. How does New Jersey law deal with multiple causes of loss when one of the causes of loss is excluded under the policy?

Continue Reading Basics of Concurrent Causation in New Jersey

I have reviewed denial letters sent to policyholders in New York and New Jersey. Their business income claims have been denied because the “physical loss or damage” was caused, in whole or in part, by an excluded peril – power failure. Hurricane Sandy was a complex windstorm event that caused many perils – power outages, fire, flood, explosion and wind are among the most prevalent. Some of these perils may or may not be covered by an insurance policy, but if an insured property sustained damages caused by at least one covered peril, business income claims should not be denied.

Continue Reading Business Income Losses Caused By Hurricane Sandy Are Recoverable Despite Anti-Concurrent Causation Exclusions

"If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow"

"Read the law and weep if you are afraid of juries." That is what I will be telling insurance companies and their counsel for the next several years if they wrongfully and in bad faith deny Hurricane Sandy claims in New Jersey.

Continue Reading Concurrent Causation on the Jersey Shore Following Hurricane Sandy–Insurers Are Gonna Have a Second Hurricane

On January 4, 2011, I discussed the case of Nat’l Fire Ins. Co. of Pittsburgh, PA v. Valero Energy Corp., 777 S.W.2d 501 (Tex.App.—Corpus Christi 1989, writ denied). Nat’l Fire taught us that an otherwise excluded peril could be covered under an insurance policy if the policyholder could demonstrate that the excluded peril itself was caused by a covered peril. However, even if the policyholder can demonstrate that an excluded peril was caused by a covered peril, the policyholder still has work to do: s/he must also show the extent of the damage attributable to the covered peril. But what does that mean? The Texas First District Court of Appeals dealt with this very issue in Travelers Personal Sec. Ins. Co. v. McClelland, 189 S.W.3d 846 (Tex.App.—Houston [1st Dist.] 2006, no pet.).

Continue Reading Concurrent Causation: A Texas Policyholder’s Burden of Proof Regarding Segregation of Damages