Water Damage

News & Analysis as of

Competing Causes of Loss: Florida Supreme Court Issues Decision Applying The Concurrent Causation Doctrine

We have discussed on a number of occasions the issue of causation when there are multiple causes of loss, some covered and some not covered. Most jurisdictions apply what is known as the efficient proximate cause analysis...more

Texas Says ‘No Way’ to One Way’s Hail Damage Claim

In a recent opinion, U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater delivered the final blow to One Way Investments Inc. in its hail damage lawsuit against property insurer Century Surety Company — granting summary judgment in favor of...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

Collateral lies: The lie is dishonest but the claim is not

The Supreme Court rules that a collateral lie embellishing a valid claim does not amount to a fraudulent claim. Versloot Dredging BV and another (Appellants) v HDI Gerling Industrie Versicherung AG and others [2016] UKSC...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

Western District of Virginia Confronts Several Legal Issues That Frequently Impact Multi-Party Construction Disputes – Economic...

Allstate Insurance Company v. Structures Design/Build, LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 34349 (WD VA March 17, 2016) - This construction dispute case arises from a failed pipe connector that caused water damage to a facility...more

Genuine Dispute Defeats Both Bad Faith and Elder Abuse

The Paslays sued State Farm for failing to pay a portion of the damage caused to their Pacific Palisades house by a heavy rainstorm and for forcing them to move back into the house while it was still under construction. The...more

Genuine Dispute Over Cause of Damage and Insureds’ Demolition Before Inspection Negate Bad Faith and Elder Abuse Claims

In Paslay v. State Farm General Ins. Co. (No. B265348, filed 6/27/16), a California appeals court found triable issues of fact regarding whether State Farm breached its contract in paying a water loss, but affirmed summary...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

Unanimous Washington Supreme Court: No Coverage for Water Damage to Vacant Building

The Washington Supreme Court, often described as pro-policyholder, issued a unanimous decision in favor of an insurance company on June 9, 2016: Lui v. Essex Insurance Company, No. 91777-9 (Wash., Jun. 9, 2016). Addressing a...more

Broad but not Ambiguous: Eighth Circuit Weighs In On Water Below The Surface Exclusion  

An exclusion in a homeowner’s policy for loss resulting from “water . . . below the surface of the ground” is not limited to naturally occurring water, according to a recent decision of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in...more

Florida Regulators Approve Policy Language Aimed at Limiting “Assignments of Benefits” Claim Practice

Insurance companies that write property risks in Florida are getting in line to request approval from the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) for two key policy revisions intended to control losses from a water damage...more

Diminished Value Claims Under Homeowners Coverage Certified in Georgia Class Action

The court in Thompson v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 30308 (D. Ga. 2016), recently issued a mixed ruling on class certification regarding diminished value claims for Georgia homeowners. The plaintiffs...more

Court Rules that Collapse Coverage for Damage Caused “Only By” Specified Perils Violates Efficient Proximate Cause Rule and is...

In Vardanyan v. Amco Ins. Co. (No. F069953, filed 12/11/15) a California appeals court held that policy wording that the collapse coverage for damage “caused only by” certain specified perils did not mean “solely” by those...more

Utah Court: Seepage Over A Months-Long Period Is Excluded As Moral Hazard

Two weeks ago in Wheeler v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2015 WL 5714392, 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 131736 (C.D.Utah, Sep. 29, 2015), a Utah court barred coverage for a mold loss caused when a vacant log cabin suffered a long-term water...more

Suit Limitation Is A Contractual Term, Not A Statute Of Limitations: Virginia Supreme Court Orders Allstate’s Demurrer Be Granted

The Virginia Supreme Court recently clarified that, even if the suit limitation in a standard fire insurance policy incorporates the language required by Virginia Code, the suit limitation language is not subject to statutory...more

Massachusetts Court Refuses to Apply Discovery Rule to Commencement of the Suit Limitations Period

Monday, in Nurse v. Omega U.S.  Insurance., Inc., 2015 Mass. App. LEXIS 158, 2015 WL 5774390 (Mass.App., Oct. 5, 2015), a unanimous panel of Massachusetts’ intermediate level appellate court held that the two-year suit...more

Florida to Decide What Test Applies When Concurrent Multiple Perils Cause a Loss

For years, Florida courts have been seesawing between two different doctrines to determine whether there is coverage under a property policy when two perils – one excluded and one included — combine to cause a loss. Two...more

Texas Supreme Court Holds Builder’s Limited Defensive Participation in Litigation Did Not Waive Right to Compel Developer to...

G.T. Leach Builders, LLC v. Sapphire V.P., 2015 Tex. LEXIS 273 (Tex. Mar. 20, 2015) This action arose after 2008’s Hurricane Dolly caused extensive damage to a luxury condominium project that Sapphire V.P., L.P. (“Developer”)...more

Seventh Circuit Holds Insured Entitled to a New Roof for Purely Cosmetic Hail Damage

The Seventh Circuit is becoming a difficult venue for insurers. In November we reported that the Court of Appeals had held that the phrase “continuous or repeated exposure” in definition of occurrence meant that a continuous...more

Texas High Court Clarifies Multiple Perils Coverage Scope

Often damage to a building or structure can be the result of multiple perils. One of the most common examples is when a windstorm causes a building to sustain both flood and wind damage. Based on the policy language at issue,...more

Iowa’s Highest Court: Damage by Rainwater is Damage by Rain

Last July, we posted that an intermediate level appellate court in Iowa had held that a policy excluding loss “caused by rain” did not bar coverage for loss occasioned by the non-excluded peril of “rainwater.” ...more

New York’s Highest Court Enforces a Water Damage Exclusion Despite an Ensuing Loss Exception

In Platek v. Town of Hamberg, et al., 2015 WL 685726, 2015 N.Y. LEXIS 252 (N.Y., Feb. 19, 2015), the New York Court of Appeals held that an exclusion for water below the surface of the ground was unambiguous and operated to...more

Seventh Circuit Declines to Issue Bright-Line Rule Regarding Trigger in First-Party Property Cases

The Seventh Circuit addressed Strauss v. Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. App. 21794 (7th Cir. November 18, 2014) on an appeal from the Eastern District of Wisconsin. The Strausses constructed a home in Mequon, Wisconsin in...more

As the Snowfall Comes to an End, Buffalo, New York Area Businesses Should Seek To Protect Their Insurance Rights

The Buffalo, New York, area has been devastated with record-setting levels of snowfall. In just a few days, the area has received a year’s worth of snow, with more than seven feet in some places. The heavy snow has led to...more

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