Concurrent causation. It’s as international to some courts because the Rule of Perpetuities is to a first-year regulation scholar, or quantum mechanics can be to the typical Joe.
Regardless of the widespread confusion on the strategy utilized in insurance coverage claims for dealing with losses that happen from a number of perils, the Florida Supreme Courtroom appeared to have gotten it proper again in 2016 with the Sebo v. American House Assurance Firm resolution,1 which now serves as Florida’s landmark case on concurrent causation.
Sebo concerned diving into the coverage’s exclusions and its exceptions, the oh so acquainted “ensuing loss” or “ensuing loss” provisions. Though the Sebo coverage had what known as “anti-concurrent causation” (ACC) language underneath a number of the exceptions—voiding an excluded peril regardless that it was lined as a ensuing or an ensuing loss—the faulty design and workmanship exclusion within the Sebo coverage didn’t comprise such ACC language. This truth affirmed protection for the Plaintiff. The court docket stood on the discovering that since different exclusions of the Sebo coverage contained ACC language, however the faulty design and workmanship exclusion particularly didn’t, the plain language of the coverage didn’t preclude the Plaintiff from restoration underneath the following loss provision.
As many Florida policyholder Hurricane Ian claims start to get thrown into the litigation oven, policyholder attorneys are discovering themselves trying into their purchasers’ topic insurance policies for ACC language earlier than submitting go well with. As if concurrent causation wasn’t an issue for some courts sufficient, a policyholder lawyer should do their due diligence in figuring out the ACC language throughout the insurance policies and figuring out if their shopper’s declare can maintain water (no pun meant) earlier than submitting go well with.
Many carriers stick ACC language within the preamble of their insurance policies, however this language is usually discovered throughout the exclusion sections as properly. One may think about how the existence of ACC language inside a coverage can assist insurance coverage firms reduce and even deny a policyholder’s declare for harm brought on by a catastrophic storm that brings a number of perils, resembling a hurricane.
In September 2022, Hurricane Ian made landfall on the West Coast of Florida and ranked as one of the vital devastating hurricanes ever to hit the state. Ian, ranked as a class 5 storm, introduced over 150 mph winds and over 12-foot storm surge in some areas.
Now, if a policyholder had been to file a declare for wind and flood harm to their property attributable to Hurricane Ian, wind harm might be lined underneath most all-risk householders insurance coverage insurance policies, but when ACC language had been inserted in the fitting areas throughout the coverage excluding protection for flood harm, it may preclude the policyholder from gathering on the ensuing or ensuing loss. This has a huge impact on claims dealing with as greater than 5,000 houses had been destroyed in Lee County, Florida, and almost 30,000 extra had been broken from Hurricane Ian, with a excessive variety of these brought on by storm surge.
Since 2020, over fifteen insurance coverage firms have gone into receivership, and since then, carriers have been narrowing their insurance policies much more. ACC clauses are being discovered all through insurance policies now greater than ever. Whereas concurrent causation could have favored many policyholders up to now, the modern-day ACC clauses have come to the rescue for insurers as we transfer into the longer term.