Water or Wind Coverage


A Video About Catastrophes and Anti-Concurrent Cause Policy Language

See the full video at https://rumble.com/vi6k79-water-or-wind-coverage.html and at https://youtu.be/yjch-OH8iNQ

The United States Court of Appeal, Fifth Circuit entered an important decision with regard to water damage and insurance policy coverage for claims resulting from water damage and catastrophe losses. In Leonard v. Nationwide, 499 F.3d 419, 37 A.L.R. 6th 785 (2007) the first of the Katrina cases to go to trial, found that

  • anti-concurrent-causation clause was not ambiguous;
  • the clause was not invalid under Mississippi law; and
  • water damages exclusion unambiguously excluded damage caused to residence from storm surge.

The Leonards’ home lies twelve feet above sea level on the southernmost edge of Pascagoula, Mississippi, less than two hundred yards from the Mississippi Sound. Hurricane Katrina battered Pascagoula with torrential rain and sustained winds in excess of one hundred miles per hour. By midday, the storm had driven ashore a formidable tidal wave—also called a storm or tidal surge—that flooded the ground floor of the Leonards’ two-story home.

The Fifth Circuit found that the anti-concurrent causation “clause unambiguously excludes coverage for water damage ‘even if another peril”—e.g., wind— “contributed concurrently or in any sequence to cause the loss.’ The plain language of the policy leaves the district court no interpretive leeway to conclude that recovery can be obtained for wind damage that ‘occurred concurrently or in sequence with the excluded water damage.’”

For all these reasons, the Fifth Circuit “concluded that use of an anti-concurrent-cause clause to supplant the default causation regime is not forbidden by Mississippi caselaw (including the Camille cases which antedate such clauses), statutory law, or public policy. Because the anti-concurrent-causation clause is unambiguous and not otherwise voidable under state law, it withstood the claim of the Leonards.

© 2021 – Barry Zalma

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, insurance bad faith and insurance fraud almost equally for insurers and policyholders. He also serves as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims handling lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com.

Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual Claims Magazine/ACE Legend Award.

Over the last 53 years Barry Zalma has dedicated his life to insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to make it possible for insurers and their claims staff to become insurance claims professionals.

Go to the podcast Zalma On Insurance at https://anchor.fm/barry-zalma;  Follow Mr. Zalma on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bzalma; Go to Barry Zalma videos at Rumble.com at https://rumble.com/c/c-262921; Go to Barry Zalma on YouTube- https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCysiZklEtxZsSF9DfC0Expg; Go to the Insurance Claims Library – https://zalma.com/blog/insurance-claims-library/ Read posts from Barry Zalma at https://parler.com/profile/Zalma/posts; and the last two issues of ZIFL at https://zalma.com/zalmas-insurance-fraud-letter-2/  podcast now available at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/zalma-on-insurance/id1509583809?uo=4

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