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“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 property policy. Accordingly, coverage for the loss was barred under the policy’s “Water Exclusion Endorsement,” which excluded coverage for, among other perils, “[m]udslide or mudflow.” Although the exclusion contained an exception for resulting losses caused by “fire explosion, or sprinkler leakage,” the Tenth Circuit held that the destruction of the building did not constitute an explosion as used in the exception to the exclusion. In construing the meaning of “explosion” as used in the water exclusion, the court emphasized that “context matters,”

Posted in Coverage, Exclusions, Mudslide, Water

Texas Rule Change: Supreme Court Holds Loss of Use Damages Are Recoverable Where Property Total Loss

In J & D Towing, LLC v. American Alternative Insurance Corporation, No. 14-0574, 2016 WL 91201 (Tex. Jan. 8, 2016), the Texas Supreme Court considered J & D Towing, LLC’s (“J & D”) claim for loss of use damages under its underinsured motorist insurance policy, after J & D’s only towing vehicle was totally destroyed in an accident.  After discussing decades of Texas case law limiting loss of use damages to cases involving partial destruction, the Court held that the owner of totally destroyed personal property may recover loss of use damages, in addition to the property’s fair market value immediately before the injury.  The Court’s holding reverses over 60 years of prior case law prohibiting recovery of loss of

Posted in Uncategorized
About The Property Insurance Law Observer
For more than four decades, Cozen O’Connor has represented all types of property insurers in jurisdictions throughout the United States, and it is dedicated to keeping its clients abreast of developments that impact the insurance industry. The Property Insurance Law Observer will survey court decisions, enacted or proposed legislation, and regulatory activities from all 50 states. We will also include commentary on current issues and developing trends of interest to first-party insurers.
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