Tag Archives: Collapse

Collapse Loss Ambiguity Determined With Dictionary Help

Feenix Parkside LLC owed a commercial building that incurred a partial collapse to their ceiling. When Feenix sought coverage for the collapse, the insurer—Berkley North Pacific—denied coverage for the loss. When Feenix reported the loss, they stated the collapse was due to decay, which was a gradual decline in strength and soundness.… Continue Reading

Trial Court Sides with Insurers Over Cracked Concrete Foundation

In March of 2017, I wrote a blog post about the crumbling foundations in Connecticut due to a concrete company, J.J. Mottes & Company, using concrete that contained pyrrhotite, that cause the concrete to lose integrity and collapse. Many insurance companies have been denying these claims for various reasons. One insured, Lawrence and Karen Cockill, … Continue Reading

What Constitutes an “Abrupt Collapse”?

Most property insurance policies provide additional coverage for direct physical loss of or damage to covered property caused by or resulting from an “abrupt collapse.”1 In Hoban v. Nova Casualty Company,2 a California federal district court recently addressed the meaning of the phrase “abrupt collapse,” which the commercial insurance policy at issue defined as “an … Continue Reading

When the Insurance Company Labels Your Loss a Collapse, Can It Still Deny Your Collapse Claim?

At least one Michigan court has ruled that even when the execute general adjuster calls a building’s damage a collapse and labels it as a “cave in,” the denial will stand where the policy language supports an exclusion.1 This case arises out damages that occurred to a large commercial shop that repairs commercial trucks. There … Continue Reading

What is a Collapse? Crumbling Concrete Case is Catalyst for Coverage Query Certified to State Supreme Court

Recognizing the public policy implications of an unsettled, recurring coverage issue involving crumbling concrete foundations in thousands of Connecticut homes, U.S. District Court Judge Stefan Underhill recently certified the following insurance coverage question to the Supreme Court of Connecticut: What constitutes a “substantial impairment of structural integrity” for purposes of applying the “collapse” provision of … Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Kentucky Holds “Substantial Impairment” Is Not Collapse

Insurance policies are all different. Some policies include a definition of the word “collapse” and some do not. The Kentucky Supreme Court in Thiele v. Kentucky Growers Ins. Co., 2017 WL 2598494 (Ky. June 15, 2017), recently addressed whether termite infestation and damage which caused substantial damage was covered under the policy’s collapse provision.… Continue Reading

Collapse Claim Highlights the Importance of Retaining Experts Early in the Claim Process

A recent case filed in the Western District of Texas highlights the importance of retaining experts to assist in evaluating the cause of loss early in the claim process. In White Lodging Services Corporation et al v. Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company,1 a hotel development and management company filed suit against Liberty Mutual over a … Continue Reading

Crumbling Foundation and the Collapse Provision in a Homeowners Policy

Recently, Connecticut has had an increase in insurance claims for crumbling foundations due to faulty foundations poured in the 1980s and 1990s. Some foundations poured during this time frame contained a mineral, pyrrhotite, which can cause cracking when it reacts with oxygen and water. It is estimated nearly 20,000 foundations poured contain the mineral.… Continue Reading

Do All Insurance Policies Require a Total Collapse to Trigger Collapse Coverage?

In California, if a property insurance policy does not specifically require a collapse to be complete or actual falling down to trigger coverage, then an imminent (i.e., impending) collapse will probably trigger coverage.1 However, on the flipside, if a policy does specifically require a collapse to be “complete” or “actual” falling down, then an imminent … Continue Reading

The Weight of Ice and Snow on a Roof

One thing that can potentially damage a roof is the weight of ice and snow. Ice damming can occur, causing water to displace shingles. This can lead to interior damage, among other things.… Continue Reading

Court Defines “Collapse”

The meaning of the term “collapse” in a first-party property insurance policy may often be litigated. My colleague, Nicole Vinson has written previous blogs specific to the topic of collapse coverage. In Experts and Photos – Clearing Up Collapse Coverage, Part V, she explained the two different doctrines involving collapse coverage: The traditional view holds … Continue Reading

Definition of Collapse in Maryland

Last week I was able to settle a claim involving the partial collapse of a roof on a commercial structure in Maryland. The primary issue was whether the partial collapse suffered by my client constituted a collapse under the policy’s definition of the term “collapse,” as the entire building had not fallen, but only a … Continue Reading

Experts and Photos – Clearing Up Collapse Coverage, Part V

“Chance favours the prepared mind.” ― Louis Pasteur You better have an expert for a collapse case. One thing is for sure, collapse coverage claims are fact specific and the exact language within the policy is crucial in determining whether the damage at the building will be covered. Counsel also needs to be very familiar … Continue Reading

Clearing up Collapse Coverage, Part III – on Gasparilla Saturday

It’s the last Saturday in January, and that means pirates invade Tampa Bay this weekend. Not familiar with Gasparilla? Here is a little on the Legend. While the name may sound like a rare tropical flower or an exotic drink, to Tampa, Gasparilla means boats, pirates, parades, and merriment and it is important to know … Continue Reading

Clearing up Collapse Coverage, Part II

Is my collapse claim covered? Can my insurance company deny the claim, my balcony just collapsed? My porch is hanging by a thread… am I covered? Looking for an answer to questions about collapse coverage? You have come to the right firm’s blog. This series is intended to give the basics on collapse coverage, the … Continue Reading

Clearing up Collapse Coverage, Part I

Property insurance coverage dealing with collapse claims has long been a battle for policyholders. This is one of those perils (or exclusion, depending on the policy) that is fair to classify as one that gives practitioners on both sides of the claim indigestion. So take out the antacid, because its time to delve into the … Continue Reading

Collapse Coverage: Is Coverage Triggered When the Building Shows Signs Of Distress, When Collapse Is Imminent, Or When It Crumbles To The Ground?

Cases around the country discuss property loss resulting from collapse. The issue is often litigated because collapse is usually a process that occurs over time and to various degrees. See Sherman v. Safeco Ins. Co. of Am., Inc., 716 P.2d 475, 476 (Colo. App. 1986) (where masonry work supporting the sill plate had cracked causing … Continue Reading

Total Destruction Caused By Hurricane Wind and Flood May Be Covered Under the Additional Coverage of Collapse: Why Defining a “Hurricane” as a “Windstorm” is Significant

Insurance defense attorneys will not agree with this post. However, they fear the argument enough to falsely argue in some cases that a hurricane is not a “windstorm,” in order to avoid policy language that may provide coverage for total losses where wind and water combine to destroy a structure. As promised in yesterday morning’s … Continue Reading