What Is Reasonable Care for Maintaining Heat in an Unoccupied Home?
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Ashley Eldridge
3w ago
The New York Supreme Court recently weighed in on what constitutes “reasonable care” to maintain heat in the context of a first-party insurance policy exclusion requiring such reasonable care. In Michael Zimmerman v. Leatherstocking Cooperative Insurance Company, CV-23-0362, 2024 NY Slip Op 02113 (April 18, 2024), the Plaintiff was in the process of selling his home in Saratoga Springs, New York. The house was insured under a homeowners policy issued by Leatherstocking Cooperative Insurance Company. On January 2, 2019, a real estate broker arrived at the house and discovered extensive water da ..read more
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Court Says Builder’s Risk Policy Limited Coverage for Additional Insureds
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Joshua Tumen
2M ago
In BCC Partners, LLC v. Travelers Prop. Cas. Co. of America, 2024 WL 1050117 (E.D. Mo. March 11, 2024), the Court determined that the plaintiff property owner, as an additional insured, was not entitled to the same insurance coverage as the named insured where the builder’s risk policy limited the scope of recovery for soft costs and rental income. Factual Background The plaintiff property owner hired a contractor to construct an apartment complex.  Pursuant to that construction contract, the contractor purchased a builder’s risk policy with the defendant insurer.  The contractor was ..read more
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What’s in a Name (Insured)? Pennsylvania Federal Court Holds Homeowners’ Insurance Policy’s Requirement to Submit to Examination Under Oath Applies Only to Named Insured
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Vincent Passarelli
3M ago
A federal court recently held that an insurer could not deny coverage under a homeowner’s policy based upon the failure of the named insured’s son, an “insured person,” to submit to an examination under oath (“EUO”). In Michelle Adeola v. Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company, Civil Action No. 23-cv-4643 (E.D. PA February 16, 2023), the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied defendant-insurer’s motion for reconsideration of the lower court’s denial of its motion for judgment on the pleadings, and held that the defendant-insured did not present any errors of law or fact, or new evide ..read more
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Court Differentiates Vandalism from Theft in First Party Insurance Policy
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Shannon Saks
3M ago
The United States District Court for the Western District of Washington decided an insurance coverage case involving Plaintiffs Benny and Guangying Cheung and Defendant Allstate Vehicle and Property Insurance Company.  Cheung v. Allstate Vehicle & Prop. Ins. Co., No. C22-1174 TSZ, 2023 WL 9000432 (W.D. Wash. Dec. 28, 2023). The Court considered whether the Plaintiffs’ loss was caused by theft or vandalism, as neither term was defined in the policy. In Cheung, the Plaintiffs, who resided in California, purchased property in scenic Mount Vernon, Washington, in July 2021, and insure ..read more
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Court Finds Policy Term, “Windstorm,” to be Ambiguous in Coverage Dispute Involving Tornado
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Paul Ferland
4M ago
In Mankoff v. Privilege Underwriters Reciprocal Exchange (2024 WL 322297 (Tex. App.—Dallas Jan. 29, 2024)), the Court determined that the term “windstorm” was ambiguous as utilized in the subject insurance policy. The insureds suffered property damage caused by a tornado and subsequently submitted a claim to their insurer.  The insurer paid only a portion of the claim because it maintained that the tornado that struck and damaged the property was a “windstorm” and, therefore, the claim was subject to the policy’s “Windstorm or Hail Deductible.”  That provision stated: 5.  Deduct ..read more
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Court Issues First LEG3 Defects Exclusion Decision
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Joshua Tumen
5M ago
Introduction In a case of first impression, the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (applying Illinois law) rejected a LEG3 exclusion as ambiguous.  See S. Capitol Bridgebuilders “SCB” v. Lexington Ins. Co., 2023 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 176573 (D.D.C. Sep. 29, 2023).  The London Engineering Group (“LEG”) is a consultative body for insurers of engineering class risks.  Nearly 30 years ago, LEG introduced a series of defects exclusions, including LEG1, LEG2, and LEG3 (which was revised in 2006).  Each provides increasing levels of coverage, with LEG3 being the ..read more
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There’s No Place Like Home! Kansas Federal Court Holds Homeowner’s Policy Coverage Requires Policyholder to Physically Reside at Residence
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Vincent Passarelli
7M ago
A federal court recently held that an insurer may deny coverage under a homeowner’s policy for a “residence premises” when the insured never actually lived at the premises. In Sina Davani v. Travelers Personal Insurance Company and Geico Insurance Agency, LLC, Case No. 22-1244 (D. Kan. October 26, 2023), the District of Kansas granted defendant-insurer’s motion for summary judgment holding that the plaintiff-insured never resided at the insured premises and residence in the context of an insurance contract requires an insured’s physical presence at a certain location and an intent to remain at ..read more
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Southern District of Texas Holds that Appraisal Award is Inconclusive of Whether a Loss is Covered
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Joshua Tumen
10M ago
The Southern District of Texas recently held that an appraisal award did not establish liability for a covered loss under the policy. In Hoff v. Meridian Sec. Ins. Co., 2023 WL 5192013 (S.D. Tex. Aug. 11, 2023), Meridian Security Insurance (“Meridian”) insured Flemming Hoff (“Hoff”). After filing suit, Hoff requested an appraisal pursuant to the following policy language: If you [Hoff] and we [Meridian] disagree on the amount of loss, either may demand an appraisal of the loss. In this event, each party will choose a competent and impartial appraiser within 20 days after receiving a written re ..read more
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Florida Enacts Broad Insurance Reforms Focusing on Bad Faith
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Chad A. Pasternack
1y ago
From 2019 to 2022, the Florida Legislature enacted four separate property insurance reforms that sought to rein in abusive property insurance litigation fueled by one-way attorney’s fee shifting and an army of professional plaintiffs filing lawsuits pursuant to assignments of benefits. In its latest reform, the Legislature has shifted its focus to the broader insurance market and to tort reform. For many years now, Florida has significantly led the nation in tort costs per household.  This metric has been driven by a high octane litigation environment, ever growing personal injury verdict ..read more
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Texas Court of Appeals Nixes Plaintiff’s Attorney’s Fees Award Because Offsets Preclude Prevailing Party Status
Cozen O'Connor's Property Insurance Law Observer
by Karl A. Schulz
1y ago
The First Court of Appeals in Houston affirmed an analysis that involved math and application of the Texas Insurance Code.  In Jones v. Allstate Vehicle & Property Insurance Company, 2022 Tex. App. LEXIS 8896 (Tex. App.—Houston [1st Dist.] Dec. 6, 2022, no pet.), the policyholder appealed a take-nothing judgment in favor of the insurer in a dispute over a partial denial of a homeowners claim.  The policyholder sued her insurer for breach of contract, violation of the Texas Insurance Code, and breach of the duty of good faith and fair dealing.  At trial, the jury found that t ..read more
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