Insured's Commercial Property Policy Deemed Excess Over Unobtained Flood Policy

Flooded plains

The court ruled there was no breach of the policy for failure to pay for flood damage when the insured failed to obtain a policy under the NFIP.

June 10, 2019
Tred R. Eyerly - Insurance Law Hawaii

The court granted the insurer's motion for summary judgment, deciding that there was no breach of the policy for failure to pay for flood damage when the insured failed to obtain a policy under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 570 Smith St. Realty Corp. v. Seneca Ins. Co. Inc., 2019 N.Y. Misc. LEXIS 1773 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. April 4, 2019).

The insured's property in Brooklyn was insured by Seneca. Included in the policy was flood coverage in the amount of $1 million with a $25,000 deductible. While the policy was in effect, Hurricane Sandy hit, damaging the property. Plaintiffs timely filed a claim seeking reimbursement of up to policy limits. Seneca paid only $35,883 and later made an additional payment of $33,015.

The insured sued for, among other things, breach of the policy for failure to properly indemnify for the losses. Seneca moved for partial summary judgment dismissing the breach of policy claims. Seneca pointed out that the "Other Insurance" provision in the Flood Coverage Endorsement of the policy stated that if the loss was eligible to be covered under a NFIP policy, but there was no such policy in effect, the insurer would only pay for the amount of loss in excess of the maximum limit payable for flood damage under the policy. The maximum NFIP coverage was $500,000. The insured's loss caused by flood was less than $500,000.

Mr. Eyerly may be contacted at te@hawaiilawyer.com



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