Property Insurance Property Damage

News & Analysis as of

Postdiluvian Perils: Second Circuit Weighs Coverage For Losses Suffered After The Waters Recede

As this blog has reported, exclusions and limits for flood coverage have generally held up against the tide of claims arising from Superstorm Sandy. Now that the water is gone, however, new losses have been discovered, and...more

Adjuster Tools for Water Losses

Lois Chamberlain sat down at her desk, adjusted her reading glasses, and stared at the screen filled with columns of check requests — each supported by a claim summary. Lois was two weeks from her retirement party. She...more

Ambiguity And Ensuing Loss: The Second Circuit Affirms The Southern District Of New York’s Holdings In a $675 Million Superstorm...

In National Railroad Passenger Corp. v. Aspen Specialty Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 16074 (2d. Cir. Aug. 31, 2016), Amtrak sought the entire $675 million of available coverage from a number of its insurers for damages...more

“Context Matters” – Tenth Circuit Holds Mudslide Not an Explosion Under Property Policy

On August 29, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed a Colorado district court ruling that the sudden obliteration of a building in a 2013 mudslide did not constitute an “explosion” under a commercial...more

Washington Court Finds Coverage For “Collapse” Is Not Set In Stone

As this blog has documented, the language of insurance policies evolves; it changes to address new risks, and it also responds to new interpretations of old policy provisions. Even if a policyholder maintains a long-standing...more

Summary Judgment May Be Appropriate When Insured Fails to Take Reasonable Measures to Prevent Property Damage

Many first party property insurance policies exclude claims for water damage that occurs when the insured premises is left vacant or unoccupied, unless the insured has used reasonable care to prevent such losses. In...more

A State Law Wolf in Federal Common Law Clothing: The Third Circuit Rejects Insured’s Attempt to Expand Causes of Action Under the...

Courts across the country (and particularly since Super Storm Sandy in 2012) have consistently held that, in litigation involving a dispute concerning the investigation, adjustment, or payment of a flood claim under the...more

Workmanship and Earth Movement Exclusions Preclude Coverage for Collapse As a Matter of Law

A U.S. federal district court recently granted Peerless Insurance’s summary judgment motion, concluding that, as a matter of law, under Virginia law, a property policy insuring a building under renovation would not provide...more

Prevailing in an Era of Regulatory Enforcement – Balancing Risk and Compliance [Expect Focus – Vol. II, July 2016]

IN THE SPOTLIGHT - - SEC Sanctions Unregistered EB-5 Investments Broker SECURITIES - - FINRA to Assess Member Firms’ Culture - SEC Seeks Fund Responses to Distribution-In-Guise Guidance...more

Don’t Mess with the Texas Prompt Payment of Claims Act: One Court’s Appraisal Result

Virtually all property insurance policies contain an appraisal clause, which outlines the appraisal procedure in broad terms. Those broad terms sometimes do not provide much guidance about the process, or about the effect...more

More Common Sense: Coverage for Collapse Requires More Than an Engineer’s Finding of Substantial Impairment

In February this blog commented on Washington State’s newly-adopted definition of “collapse” in property insurance policies that contain no specific definition of the term. (Observer, February 8, 2016, Common Sense Prevails: ...more

Wisconsin Supreme Court Narrowly Interprets the “Permanent Property Insurance” Condition in a Builder’s Risk Policy

In Fontana Builders, Inc. v. Assurance Company of America, Case No. 2014AP821, 2016 WL 3526408 (Wis. Jun. 29, 2016), the Wisconsin Supreme Court addressed whether the purchase of a homeowner’s policy by the occupiers and...more

Hybrid Property Policies: The Burden of Proof to Establish Policy Coverage and Exclusions

One coverage issue frequently arising under first-party property insurance policies entails a determination as to which party has the burden of proof to establish coverage, or to show the applicability and effect of a policy...more

Federal Court in Maryland Denies Summary Judgment, Holding That Subcontract Provision Placing Responsibility for Property Damage...

Turner Constr. Co. v. BFPE Int’l, Inc., No. JKB-15-368, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 39161 (D. Md. Mar. 25, 2016) - The University of Maryland Medical Center (“UMMC”) entered into a contract (the “Prime Contract”) with Turner...more

5th Circ. Brings Consistency to Improper-Joinder Analysis

Weather events in recent years have led to a surge of lawsuits seeking coverage for property damage. Often, in an effort to defeat diversity jurisdiction, a Texas resident will sue both a foreign insurance company and a...more

Is Anyone Home? Washington Supreme Court Interprets Two-Step Vacancy Endorsement

Disputes involving “vacancy” exclusions typically involve the appropriate definition of that word. The recently-decided case of Lui v. Essex Ins. Co., 2016 Wash. LEXIS 692 (Wash. June 9, 2016) presents a somewhat different...more

Alabama Puts The Mystery Back Into All-Risk Coverage

Insuring property against loss creates an unavoidable moral hazard: policyholders often have an incentive to cause or allow their property to disappear. Early efforts to limit insurers’ exposure to that risk—such as requiring...more

NY Appellate Court Rules “Blanket Ordinance or Law Coverage” not as Blanket as Insured Hoped

In 1947, some Bedouin shepherd boys were tending their sheep and goats near the ancient settlement of Qumran, near the Dead Sea. One of the boys threw a rock into an opening on the side of a cliff and heard something break. ...more

Hurricane Season: Time to Determine Whether You're Covered for Weather

June 1 brings the beginning of the 2016 hurricane season. These storms have the potential to cause devastating damage for companies who own property such as apartment buildings, hotels, factories, retail outlets, warehouses...more

Court Cannot Divide An Offer To Settle

In Sugar Hut Group Ltd & ors v A J Insurance Service [2016] EWCA Civ 46, 3 February 2016, the Court of Appeal over-ruled the High Court’s judgment about how costs should be awarded where a claimant succeeds on only part of...more

What Constitutes ‘Physical Loss’ for Property Insurance?

In determining whether a property insurance policy responds to a loss, the fundamental, threshold question to be answered is whether or not the policyholder sustained “physical loss or damage” to insured property. In the...more

Virginia Federal Court Underscores Distinction Between a Loss and an Occurrence for Purposes of Notice Conditions

In Clarabelle Wheeler v. The Standard Fire Insurance Company, 2016 WL 1164651 (W.D. Va. Mar. 23, 2016), the insurer argued that the insured failed to give “prompt notice” of the loss as required by the policy’s notice...more

The Uncertainty of Remand in Texas

The United States District Courts in Texas continue to issue conflicting opinions regarding the analysis to be used in determining whether a state court petition contains sufficient allegations against a nondiverse defendant...more

Texas Tornadoes: Why Risk Mitigation Matters

On Dec. 26, 2015, 12 confirmed tornadoes struck the North Texas area, killing 13 people.[1] Property damage resulting from the tornadoes is currently estimated at $1.2 billion. According to the National Oceanic and...more

Texas Federal Court Rejects Insured’s Attempt To Destroy Diversity By Naming Adjuster As Defendant

The insured in Patel v. Acceptance Indem. Ins. Co., No. 4:15-CV-944-A, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 10300 (N.D. Tex. Jan. 28, 2016), alleged that Acceptance Indemnity Insurance Company and its adjuster, Charles Payne, did not fully...more

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