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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 trigger theory applied, leaving the carrier exposed to a claim for 11 years of gradual water damage that was first reported 5 years after the last insurance policy expired.  Last month, in Advance Cable Co. v. Cincinnati Ins. Co., 2015 WL 3630699, 2015 U.S. App. LEXIS 9805 (7th Cir., Jun. 11, 2015), the same court held that cosmetic hail damage to a roof that had no affect on the structure’s functionality or life expectancy nonetheless constituted “direct physical loss” and required the insurer to

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Posted in Direct Physical Loss or Damage, Hailstorm

Seventh Circuit: Under Wisconsin Law, “Continuous or Repeated Exposure” Language Means That a Continuous Trigger Theory Applies

Yesterday, in Strauss v. Chubb Indem. Ins. Co., – F.3d – , 2014 WL 6435314, 2014 U.S. App. LEXIS 21794 (7th Cir., Nov. 18, 2014), the Court of Appeals held that the use of the phrase “continuous or repeated exposure” in a Wisconsin first-party property policy’s definition of occurrence meant that the contract of insurance contemplated that the continuous trigger theory determined whether loss was covered.  As a result, a claim for 11 years of gradual water damage under a series of insurance policies was held to be timely even though it was first presented when the damage was initially discovered, five years after the last contract of insurance had expired. The Strausses had constructed a home in Mequon, Wisconsin

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Posted in Ambiguity, Homeowners Coverage, Trigger, Water

Wisconsin Adds “Septage” To The List Of Substances Deemed To Be Pollutants

In Preisler v. Kuettel’s Septic Service, LLC, et al., 2014 WL 114325 (Wisc.App., Jan. 14, 2014), the intermediate level of appellate court in Wisconsin recently held that “septage” – a combination of water, urine, feces, and chemicals that is used as a fertilizer – was “unambiguously a pollutant.”  The case involved the scope of comprehensive general liability (“CGL”) coverage, but the CGL policy exclusions at issue were virtually identical to pollution exclusions commonly found in first-party contracts of insurance.  The decision is important to property carriers as a result, and it also rejects a number of arguments that first-party insureds frequently make in an effort to limit or avoid the application of such language. The Preislers owned a dairy farm

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Posted in Efficient Proximate Cause, Exclusions, Pollution, Reasonable Expectations
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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