Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have devastated portions of Texas, Louisiana and Florida. For retail insureds in particular, the losses due to property damage and business interruption will be staggering. In an article published September 12, 2017, in South Florida’s Daily Business Review, Hunton Insurance lawyers Walter Andrews and Andrea DeField explain why it is critical that policyholders act fast to maximize insurance recovery for their hurricane-related losses. They also provide a checklist to guide policyholders through the claim process and to ensure maximum recovery for any property damage and business interruption losses. As Andrews and DeField explain, business interruption and related coverage endorsements may cover loss resulting from (1) an inability to open for business; (2) reduction in business income when the business remains open but cannot operate at full capacity; (3) civil authority orders barring access to an insured business; and (4) service and utility outages effecting business interruptions — an important coverage in light of Florida’s ongoing power outages.
Coastal areas in Texas have already begun evacuating as Hurricane Harvey heads for the Gulf Coast. Weather experts anticipate that the windstorm will reach Category 3 or Category 4 status by the time it makes landfall on the Texas coast late Friday night or early Saturday morning, making it the first Category 3+ storm to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida in October 2005. Continue Reading Preparing for Hurricane Harvey: Insurance May Help Weather the Storm
Commercial general liability policies typically provide coverage to insureds for losses resulting from property damage caused by an “occurrence,” usually defined in the policy as “an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same harmful conditions.” Specific product recall insurance policies and contamination policies also typically require that the insured’s loss be caused by accidental or unintentional contamination or impairment. In the context of product recalls, however, the exact cause of damage or contamination may be unknown. This creates uncertainty, and in turn, a coverage dispute over whether the cause of damage was indeed accidental, and thus a covered “occurrence” or “event” under the policy. Continue Reading Fear of the Unknown: Insurance Coverage for Recalls Where the Cause of Loss is Unknown
April served as a microcosm for recent trends in the world of recalls. A gas range manufacturer agreed to pay a $4.65 million civil penalty to the CPSC. In a six-year period, the manufacturer received 170 incident reports that the gas ranges had turned on spontaneously and could not be turned off using the control knobs. But the manufacturer knowingly failed to notify the CPSC immediately. The manufacturer agreed to pay the massive penalty, maintain an enhanced compliance program and maintain a related system of internal controls and procedures. Continue Reading Recall Roundup: April