The Second Circuit recently held that competing “anti-concurrent cause” provisions in a commercial property policy present a potential ambiguity that could result in favor of coverage for losses sustained by Madelaine Chocolate after storm surge from Hurricane Sandy combined to cause substantial damage to Madelaine’s property and a resulting loss of income.
Madelaine was insured under an all-risk insurance policy issued by Chubb subsidiary Great Northern Insurance Company. By endorsement, Madelaine’s policy added “windstorm” as a covered peril and defined “windstorm” as “wind… regardless of any other cause or event that directly or indirectly contributes concurrently to, or contributed in any sequence to, the loss or damage.” The policy also included a common flood exclusion that removed coverage for loss or damage caused by or resulting from waves, tidal water, or tidal waves, or the rising, overflowing, or breaking of any natural harbors, oceans, or any other body of water, whether driven by wind or not. Like the windstorm endorsement, the flood exclusion contained concurrency language that broadened the exclusion to any loss to which flood contributed, regardless of any other cause or event that directly or indirectly contributed to the loss.
Reprinted courtesy of Michael S. Levine, Hunton Andrews Kurth and Tae Andrews, Hunton Andrews Kurth
Mr. Levine may be contacted at mlevine@HuntonAK.com
Mr. Andrews may be contacted at tandrews@HuntonAK.com