Recent amendments to Florida’s Statute of Repose have resulted in concerns as to the scope of risk Florida homebuilders face as a result, and the availability of insurance coverage for such exposures. Previously, the statute provided for a strict, yet straightforward 10-year limitation for latent construction defect claims. Under that language, issues arose when suits were filed near expiration of the statute, because parties seeking to defend claims were given little time to effectively assert related claims. The amendment to the statute serves to lengthen the statute of repose to 11 years for certain cross-claims, compulsory counterclaims, and third-party claims, and in limited circumstances, potentially even longer. Most policies in the Florida marketplace serve to limit coverage under the products-completed operations hazard (“PCO”) to 10 years, and thus, in very limited circumstances, an insured contractor may be exposed to third-party claims under the revised statute. It is important to note, however, that coverage under most CGL policies is occurrence-based, meaning that the policy is triggered by property damage that occurs during the policy period, and therefore, any subsequent claims permitted under the amended statute will necessarily relate to the original property damage that occurred during the 10-year period, and thus, would be covered under the standard 10-year PCO extension. This paper will analyze the anticipated effect of the amendments upon coverage under a 10-year PCO extension.
Reprinted courtesy of Richard W. Brown, Saxe Doernberger & Vita P.C. and Grace V. Hebbel, Saxe Doernberger & Vita P.C.
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