Insurance Update

December 13, 2018 | Robert Tugander | Insurance Coverage

Our December Insurance Update touches upon a few familiar insurance issues, and some new ones.

We begin with a pair of cases addressing the number of occurrences, or in these cases, the number of accidents. The two cases involve similar facts – multiple collisions on a highway.  Both courts applied the “cause” theory.  In one case, decided by the Fifth Circuit, the court found there was a single accident.  In the other case, decided by an Oklahoma federal court, the court found there were two “accidents.”  Different results, but the cases are actually consistent. They both focus on the element of control.

Sticking with this theme, we move on to a Fourth Circuit decision holding that one liability limit applied where two pedestrian bridges collapsed. The court found that both collapses arose out of the same design defect.

We then shift to the reasonable expectations doctrine.  When courts talk about reasonable expectations, that’s usually bad for insurers.  But we include two cases that discuss the limits of that doctrine. It doesn’t apply where the policy is unambiguous.  And it doesn’t apply when the insured’s expectations are unreasonable.

Last month, we highlighted a Connecticut basement cracking case.  We include two more this month.

We close out our update with a new issue that’s popping up in the cyber arena: the meaning of money.  A few months back, we noted the Kimmelman decision, which addressed whether BitCoin was money or property.  The court treated it as property. In Posco, featured in this month’s update, the insurer agreed under a computer crime policy to pay for the insured’s direct losses of money.  But is the policy triggered when an imposter tricks the insured’s customer into wiring payments to the imposter’s bank account?  The court resolved the issue based on who owned the diverted money.

We hope that you enjoy the update.

Happy holidays!

Rob Tugander

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