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Insurance for Community Associations Articles

Property & Casualty Articles

  • What is a Covered “Collapse” for Insurance Purposes? July 13, 2012 Recently, the Fifth District Court of Appeal issued the opinion of Kings Ridge Community Association v. Sagamore Insurance Company, clarifying what constitutes a covered “collapse” under an All Risk Business Owner’s policy. On February 24, 2010, the association’s clubhouse began to shake, which was apparently caused by a failure of the roof trusses, which had deflected downward by approximately twelve inches. As a result, the drop ceiling and soffits deflected downward, and there was a substantial depression in the flat roof. Read ...
  • HOA Insurance Victimization June 20, 2012 An oft repeated scenario in common wall communities is water damage which originates from a neighboring unit. Whether a broken pipe or washing machine hose, surf’s up! and usually between midnight and 4 am (disasters are funny that way).  Read More……

Property & Casualty Article Archives

 

Directors & Officers Insurance Articles

  • Trio of Recent Decisions on the I v. I Exclusion Should Remind Policyholders to Annually Review the Language in Their Policy to Avoid Losing Coverage March 2, 2017 D&O policies vary quite a bit from carrier to carrier, and language on “standard” exclusions can change from year to year. Accordingly, it is important to do a yearly review of your D&O policy to make sure your company has the right coverage. Three recent federal court decisions interpreting the “insured vs. insured” or “I v. I” exclusion remind us why examining specific policy language and understanding how it may apply to your business is so important.   Read the article………
  • Texas High Court Finds for Insurer in D&O Coverage Dispute March 1, 2017 The Texas Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of an insurer in a case that hinged on the applicability of an insured-v.-insured exclusion in the carrier’s directors and officers (D&O) liability policy.  The Court’s action reversed the ruling in Great American Insurance Company v. Robert Primo by the Court of Appeals for the 14th District of Texas in Harris County (14-13-00492-CV, 455 SW3d 714, 12-18-14).  The case grew out of various actions and counter actions by Robert Primo and Briar ...
  • When your homeowner association needs intensive care February 26, 2017 Q. Long story short, the members have all been reluctant to get involved on our board for many years. They are all fine with someone else doing it. Our vice president resigned and then appointed herself “manager.” She paid herself each month as vice president, and upon becoming manager, she gave herself a raise. The association didn’t file 990 forms with the state, and now the HOA’s status as a corporation has been suspended.    Read the article……….
  • Clarifying Board Roles: Who’s On Board? February 13, 2017 Chances are if you’re a resident in a co-op, condo, or HOA community, you’re familiar with your property’s board of directors (or trustees, or managers, depending on what part of the country you live in). Boards are usually made up of volunteers, or members appointed by the community’s initial developer, depending on the property’s age and type. As one might imagine, the stakes are very high. Not only the money, but quite literally the homes of those who call the ...

Directors & Officers Insurance  Article Archives

Condominium Insurance Law

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  • Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:52:30 +0000: Property Managers' and Condominium Association Leaders' Hurricane Matthew Dilemma - Financing the Repair Before the Insurance Company Pays - Condominium Insurance Law

    Property managers and condominium leaders will face an issue after Hurricane Matthew becoming all too recurrent following catastrophes—slow and underpaying property insurance carriers. While partial payments for small percentage amounts of easily agreed to damages are often made, full payment made within 90 to 120 days is almost non-existent with significant losses. Who can wait for that long to start substantial repairs?

    A further problem facing most coastal apartments, condominiums, and homeowner associations is the large windstorm deductible which will likely apply. A five percent deductible does not seem large, but when applied to a large building with millions of dollars as the policy limit, the deductible amounts can wind up in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Insurance agents should always obtain quotes for "deductible buydown coverage." Many insurance agents fail to do this (which is clearly malpractice by insurance agents) and some in management decline the coverage after considering the quoted premium cost.

    Faced with non-payment of insurance funds and large deductibles, the issue arises regarding how to pay for repairs which need to be completed immediately. The answers are not perfect, but I will try to highlight some considerations.

    The insurance restoration industry and contractors will push that the answer can easily be found by using an assignment of benefits clause in a construction contract. Simply sign a construction contract for all repairs less the deductible and assign the benefits of the policy claim to the restoration contractor. Assignment of benefit clauses are allegedly giving rise to and supporting fraudulent practices, "gaming" the insurance adjustment process, being overly broad and often civilly or criminally illegal. Richard "Dick" Tutwiler wrote a guest blog on the topic from the standpoint of public adjusters in The Unlicensed Practice of Public Adjusting - The Insurance Claims Keep Rolling In.

    I have warned that such contracts are now under attack and giving rise to class action lawsuits by disgruntled policyholders. Any contractor using one of these contracts should read my post, Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting and the Lon Smith Roofing Case Should Scare Contractors and Roofers with Contingent Contracts.

    Managers and association leaders should be concerned about the scope of repairs promised to be accomplished. It is critical that they thoroughly check the references of any such contractor and interview multiple contractors if they choose to accept this route of repair. Merlin Law Group attorney Nicole Vinson wrote an analysis of this in Policyholders Should Be Aware of Assignment Provisions.

    Associations could consider using reserves. For example, if the association has half of a roof replacement already reserved, why shouldn't it be able to tap into those reserves to finance the repair or replacement of association property? This is a complicated area and I suggest that property managers and association boards consult with an experienced condominium attorney. I called Donna DiMaggio Berger of the well-respected condominium law firm, Becker Poliakoff, for her opinion.

    Berger stated that, in Florida, the emergency powers of the Association President and Board are very broad following a catastrophe and during an emergency situation so long as the Governor has stated that an emergency exists. During such times, they may authorize, without prior association member vote, using reserve funds for emergency repairs. The warning is there needs to be an emergency and an Order in place at the time. Otherwise, using reserve funds usually requires member approval through a vote pursuant to association by-laws. My advice is to get a condominium lawyer like Donna Berger to guide you through the process because she warned that "mistakes" can lead to fines and personal liability.

    Alternatively, I have suggested to many of my past commercial property owner and association clients they obtain a credit line for emergency construction. Donna Berger agreed this is an excellent avenue for most Associations, but that the credit line should be obtained in advance to speed up the process.

    Finally, special assessments can be made on association members to cover the shortfall of deductibles. These assessments can also provide interim funding of repairs caused by non-paying and slow paying insurance companies. This may be covered under loss assessment coverage, as noted in Florida Law Requires Loss Assessment Coverage for Condominium Unit Owner Policies. Loss assessment coverage usually pays up to a limited amount for the special assessments required as a result of the Association not purchasing or not having enough coverage under the master policy. However, some recent individual policies exclude coverage for assessments made to cover the shortfall of deductibles, and members purchasing this cheap form of condominium insurance will suffer out-of-pocket losses.

    There is no easy answer on which is the best alternative for quickly obtaining funds to pay for the repair, but there are alternatives to just doing nothing. It is my experience that getting repairs underway and finished right away is far better for association morale and welfare. Getting repairs completed, even when insurance companies do not pay, helps put rental income into the pockets of apartment and commercial building owners and prevents many tenants from cancelling leases resulting in lost revenues once the repairs are completed.

    Positive Thought of the Day

    If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.
                 —John Quincy Adams

  • Fri, 23 Sep 2016 10:30:14 +0000: Court Decision on "Your Work" Exclusion in a CGL Policy is a Head Scratcher - Condominium Insurance Law

    In Essex Insurance Co. v. DiMucci Development Corp. of Ponce Inlet Inc., U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr. recently held that Evanston Insurance Company has no duty to defend a builder in a lawsuit alleging construction defects at one of its Florida condominium complexes based on an exclusion in the policy for damage to the developer’s own work.1

    The lawsuit arose when DiMucci Development Corp. of Ponce Inlet Inc. (“DiMucci”) was sued by the homeowners' association at the Towers Grande high-rise in Daytona Beach Shores, Florida, for various construction defect related issues.

    The construction defect lawsuit alleged that DiMucci ‘s work was defective on a portion of the high rise condominium complex and that the defective work caused property damage to other portions of the building that DiMucci also had constructed. More specifically, the Towers Grande Condominium Association alleged that DiMucci ‘s defective work resulted in damage to the roof and HVAC systems, as well as multiple water intrusion issues purportedly tied to poor waterproofing.

    DiMucci had held three consecutive CGL policies with Evanston predecessor Essex Insurance Company between 2003 and 2005. During that time, DiMucci constructed Towers Grande, a 132-unit condominium building, with subcontractor Wayne's Roofing and Sheet Metal handling the roofing work.

    After DiMucci tendered a claim for defense and indemnity to its general liability insurance company (Evanston), Evanston filed suit in Florida federal court in September 2014, seeking a ruling that its policy excluded coverage and therefore it had no obligation to defend or indemnify DiMucci.

    After the parties filed cross motions for summary judgment, the trial court ruled that the so-called "your work" exclusion in DiMucci's CGL policy with Evanston precluded coverage because the underlying construction defect complaint only alleged damage to the builder's own work. The court found that the Your Work exclusion barred coverage, and that Evanston had no duty to defend or indemnify DiMucci.

    This decision is notable because it takes the interesting position that because DiMucci constructed the entire high-rise—even though the defective construction caused damage to other parts of the high-rise—the exclusion applied not only to the portions of the high-rise where the defective work appeared, but even to the consequential damage to other parts of the high-rise caused by the defective construction work.

    This decision is at odds with the law of numerous jurisdictions including (1) California (see Blackfield v. Underwriters at Lloyd's, London, 245 Cal. App. 2d 271, 273, 276 (1st Dist. 1966) - where defective construction is at issue, the “your work” exclusion only applies to the defective work itself, not the consequential damage caused by the defective work. [insured builder of tract home constructed home with defective fill/foundation; this caused the remainder of the house to suffer cracking, slanting, windows and doors could not be opened. Coverage for damages to the “other parts” of the house covered, i.e., not excluded]) (2) New Jersey (see Cypress Point Condominium Assoc. Inc. v. Adria Towers, 226 N.J. 403 (N.J. August 4, 2016), and even (3) Florida (United States Fire Insurance Co. v. J.S.U.B., Inc., 979 So.2d 871 (Fla.2007), and Auto–Owners Insurance Co. v. Pozzi Window Co., 984 So.2d 1241 (Fla.2008) both hold that faulty workmanship or defective work that has damaged the otherwise non defective completed project has caused ‘physical injury to tangible property’ within the plain meaning of the definition in the policy)) to name a few.

    Policyholder advocates need to be aware of the authority interpreting and applying the so called “work product” exclusions as well as the fact that numerous jurisdictions permit coverage for consequential damage caused by defective workmanship even when coverage for the defective workmanship itself might otherwise be excluded.


    1  Essex Insurance Co. v. DiMucci Development Corp. of Ponce Inlet Inc., No. 6:15-cv-00486 (M.D. Fla. Sept. 13, 2016).
  • Tue, 12 Jul 2016 12:54:50 +0000: Homeowners Association Claim Filed in 2015 May be Covered by a Policy Ending in 1982 - Condominium Insurance Law

    Usually the suit limitations provision in a policy dictates when a suit to recover can be filed. However, recently the Federal District Court of Washington held that under certain circumstances that is not necessarily true. In Holden Manor v. Safeco,1 the trial court refused to dismiss a homeowners association’s coverage suit as untimely, notwithstanding the fact that the suit was filed in 2015 and sought coverage under a policy that ended in 1982.

    Background: Construction of the Holden Manor Condominium was completed in 1979. The Holden Manor Homeowners Association (“HOA”) purchased an all-risk policy from Safeco which covered the condominium from August 27, 1980 to August 27, 1982. The policy provided a one-year suit limitations provision and stated that the policy “applies only to loss to property during the policy period.” The HOA submitted a claim to Safeco on September 5, 2014, where it asserted that “the Safeco policy may provide coverage for the cost of repairing hidden damage … caused by rainwater intrusion by wind-driven rain.” The HOA further asserted that “Safeco’s policy provides coverage for the cost of repairing portions of the building that are at risk of collapse.” During invasive testing performed in late 2014—early 2015, the HOA’s expert concluded that “wind driven rain began to have an impact on wall assemblies and cause damage from the time the building was completed.” Safeco denied coverage in August, 2015 and the HOA filed suit on September 16, 2015. Safeco moved to dismiss on summary judgment arguing that the HOA’s suit is untimely as a matter of law. The court disagreed and denied Safeco’s motion.

    HOA’s position: The HOA argued that the loss was hidden damage from wind-driven rain due to faulty-construction and this loss had been present (albeit hidden) since the community’s completion. The HOA argued that the “one-year suit limitations clock did not start running until its loss was exposed during invasive testing on Holden Manor in 2014.”

    Insurers’ position: Defendants argued that because the policy required the HOA to sue within one year after the loss occurred, the HOA’s suit was time-barred, given that the policy ended in 1982 and suit was filed in 2015.

    Decision: The trial court relied primarily on two cases: Panorama2 and Queen Anne,3 both of which dealt with homeowners associations in similar positions as Holden Manor. In Panorama, which had a one-year suit limitation, the court held that “one year after a loss occurs” does not mean “one year after the loss began,” but one year after the loss concluded or was exposed, whichever comes first.” The Queen Anne court affirmed the Panorama holding. In Queen Ann, it was discovered that the building’s siding was leaking 11 years after its policy expired and filed suit two years later. There, because the policy had a two-year suit limitations, the court held that suit was timely.

    Here, the court rejected Defendants’ attempt to limit the Panorama and Queen Anne holdings to policy that cover “collapse caused by hidden decay” and that because the HOA’s policy did not provide such coverage the HOA’s suit remained untimely. The court, relying on Eagle Harbour,4 stated that “where an insurance policy’s suit limitations period hinges on the date a loss “occurs,” the Panorama holding applies regardless of whether the policy makes “the hidden nature of damage a prerequisite to coverage.” The court clarified that “where a policy’s suit limitations period relies on the date a loss “occurs,” all of that policy’s covered losses may be sued on within one year of the date they are exposed or concluded, regardless of whether they are “hidden.” On the issue of “Express Coverage for Hidden Decay” the court concluded that the HOA’s suit was “not time-barred,” stating:

    Because the Safeco policy insured against “all risks,” it must be construed as covering risks of loss due to hidden damage or decay, since they were not expressly excluded. Therefore, Defendants have failed to prove that, as a matter of law, the [HOA’s] policy with Safeco did not cover the losses alleged exposed in 2014.

    This decision is of paramount importance to all condominium and homeowners’ associations. While this case may be an extreme in terms of the length of time that hidden damage may fester and prolong coverage, it shows the importance of not accepting a denial as being final and creative and passionate advocacy. If your association discovers old damage, make sure to consult with a claims professional to see what avenues may be available for you.


    1Holden Manor Homeowners Ass’n v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America, No. C15-1676 JCC (W.D. Wash. June 16, 2016).
    2Panorama Vill. Condo. Owners Ass’n Bd. of Directors v. Allstate Ins. Co., 144 Wash. 2d 130, 135 (2001).
    3Queen Anne Park Homeowners Ass’n v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 160592 (W.D. Wash. Nov. 8, 2012).
    4Eagle Harbour Condo. Ass’n v. Allstate Ins. Co., 2016 U.S. Dis. LEXIS 15791 (W.D. Wash. Feb. 9, 2016).
  • Fri, 01 Jul 2016 11:30:57 +0000: Lawsuit against Condo Owner for Improvements Done in Violation of CC&Rs Did Not Amount to an Occurrence Under the Condo Owner's Insurance Policy - Condominium Insurance Law

    A federal district court in Washington recently decided that a claim against the owner of a condominium unit arising from the owner’s installation of a hardwood floor without the necessary permission (as spelled out in the Condo association’s bylaws), did not amount to an “occurrence” under the owner’s insurance policy.1

    In April 2009, the condo owner (Mr. Keeley) installed hardwood floors in his condo unit.

    In early 2010, Mr. Keeley realized that he had overlooked a provision in the condo bylaws stating that “no Owner shall install hard surface flooring within a Unit except with the prior written consent of the Unit Owner below, if any.” On February 1, 2010, Mr. Keeley alerted the unit owner directly below his unit (Ms. Curcio) that he had installed the flooring without obtaining her consent.

    On February 7, 2014, Ms. Curcio sent a letter through her legal counsel making a formal claim against the Keeleys. Ms. Curcio asserted that the Keeleys’ installation of hard surface flooring interfered with her use of her unit and that the condo bylaws gave her “the absolute right to prevent [the Keeleys] from installing hardwood floors in [their] Unit.”

    After receiving Ms. Curcio’s letter, the Keeleys submitted a claim to Travelers Home and Marine Insurance Company, which had issued a homeowners’ insurance policy to them. On March 7, 2014, Travelers denied coverage.

    On March 26, 2014, Ms. Curcio sued the Keeleys, alleging that they had violated the condo bylaws. Ms. Curcio asserted that she was entitled to an injunction requiring the Keeleys to remove their hard surface flooring and preventing them from future installation of any hard surface flooring without her consent.

    The Keeleys negotiated a settlement with Ms. Curcio in which they agreed to remove the hard surface floors and pay her $3,442.49. The total cost to the Keeleys to remove the floors, temporarily vacate their unit, and pay Ms. Curcio was $22,063.06.

    The Keeleys sued Travelers to recover for their loss. The insurer moved to dismiss, arguing there was no “occurrence” within the meaning of the Keeleys’ policy.

    The Keeleys moved for partial summary judgment, asking the district court to find as a matter of law that Ms. Curcio’s claim was covered by their policy and that Travelers owed them the duty to defend.

    The Travelers policy specified that:

    If a claim is made or a suit is brought against any “insured” for damages because of “bodily injury,” “personal injury” or “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” to which this coverage applies, we will:

    1. Pay up to our limit of liability for the damages for which the “insured” is legally liable. Damages include prejudgment interest awarded against the “insured”; and

    2. Provide a defense at our expense by counsel of our choice, even if the suit is groundless, false or fraudulent. We may investigate and settle any claim or suit that we decide is appropriate. Our duty to settle or defend ends when our limit of liability is exhausted by the payment of a judgment or settlement.

    It also stated:

    “Occurrence” means an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions, which results during the policy period, in:

    a. “bodily injury”; or

    b. “property damage.”

    “Property Damage” means physical injury to, destruction of, or loss of use of tangible property.

    The court granted Travelers’ motion to dismiss, finding that the Keeleys’ policy did not cover Ms. Curcio’s claim.

    The court decided that there had not been an “occurrence” within the meaning of the policy.

    The court said that under Washington law, an accident was “never present” when a deliberate act was performed unless some additional unexpected, independent, and unforeseen happening occurred that produced or brought about the injury. “The means as well as the result must be unforeseen, involuntary, unexpected and unusual,” the court added.

    The Keeleys, as members of the condo association, had a duty to abide by the condo bylaws. Although the Keeleys had not been aware that they were in violation, their subjective knowledge did not govern, the court ruled. It said that it had to focus on “what a reasonable person in the Keeleys’ position knew or should have known.”

    The court then concluded that the harm resulting from the floor’s installation was “not truly” an “unexpected, independent, and unforeseen happening” and, as such, there was no “occurrence” within the meaning of the policy.

    The moral of the story is that in the HOA condo association context, condo owners and home owners associations alike need to review their CC&Rs and similar governing documents and make sure to comply with the rules, regulations, and provisions. Had the Keeleys done so here before installing their hardwood floors, they could have avoided all of the self-inflicted cost and harm that ultimately occurred.


    1Keeley v. Travelers Home and Marine Ins. Co., No. C16-0422-JCC (W.D. Wash. June 21, 2016).

     

  • Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:30:13 +0000: Which Policy Covers My Condominium Property Damage Claim? - Condominium Insurance Law

    Several weeks ago I blogged about the way insurers sometimes use “other insurance” provisions to argue that they are not responsible for paying for a loss because “other insurance” is required to do so. In today’s blog I will address a similar and related topic that comes up in scenarios involving condominium and homeowners’ associations.

    Condominium Owner Insurance (COI) policies are designed to insure everything inside the condo, while recognizing the Home Owners’ Association (HOAs) will insure the common areas. The HOA coverage is often referred to as "walls out" coverage, because everything within the walls of the owner's individual unit is usually that person's individual responsibility (But in some condo policies, the interior, "bare" walls are covered by the HOA master policy as well). Generally, the HOA's governing documents (CC&Rs) should typically state exactly which areas the HOA policy insures.

    Although the issue of which policy (HOA vs. COI) covers a specific loss should be reasonably straightforward, as we all know - insurance companies have a knack for making simple issues complicated. Consequently, when property damage occurs at condominium complex, individual condo owners and HOAs can get caught in the middle of the disputes between the COI insurer and the HOA’s insurer.

    A good example of this was in Palacin v. Allstate Insurance Company.1 In that action, a woman owned a condo unit in a California condominium development managed by its homeowners association. Under the condominium's CC&Rs, the HOA was responsible for obtaining property insurance for the entire development. The CC&Rs instructed unit owners to insure their own units only under certain limited circumstances. The woman bought a "condominium owners" insurance policy from Allstate. Regarding coverage for real property, it stated in part: "We will cover items of real property pertaining directly to your resident premises which are your insurance responsibility as expressed or implied under the governing rules of the condominium."

    Subsequently, the insured submitted a claim, seeking coverage for water damage to the interior of her condominium unit that resulted from a water leak in a neighboring unit. First she submitted the claim to the HOA’s insurer. Surprise, surprise—that insurer denied the claim. The insurer’s denial was on the grounds that it did not cover floods. The woman thereafter submitted the claim to her COI carrier (Allstate). Allstate also denied the claim, stating that the HOA was responsible for obtaining insurance for the claimed loss.

    The woman ultimately sued her own insurer for breach of contract and bad faith. In response Allstate filed a motion to dismiss. Allstate argued that the woman’s COI policy did not provide coverage for real property damage inside her condominium because: (1) the policy covered only those real property items “which are your insurance responsibility as expressed or implied under the governing rules of the condominium”; and (2) the governing rules of the CC&Rs do not place the responsibility on the woman to insure the interior structure of her condominium. Allstate additionally argued that its policy was an excess policy to the HOA’s insurance policy (based on the other insurance clause), and that the woman could not show that the HOA’s insurer had exhausted its limits in payment of the claim.

    In response, the woman argued that under the CC&R's she was responsible for obtaining insurance for the interior structure of her condominium unit and therefore her damages were covered by the Allstate policy. She also argued that she initially made a claim for the water damage to the HOA’s insurer, but the insurer had denied the claim based on its assertion that the Association's policy “doesn't cover floods.” Counsel for the woman stated at oral argument he could amend the complaint to reflect these facts.

    The trial court ultimately concluded that even assuming the plaintiff could amend the complaint to allege that the loss was not covered by the HOA’s policy, the complaint would not state a basis for recovery because the HOA’s CC & R's unambiguously placed sole responsibility on the HOA to obtain insurance coverage for the interior structure of the condominium units. The court granted the motion to dismiss, and entered judgment in Allstate's favor.2

    On appeal the Court reversed the trial court’s decision. First the court found that Allstate’s interpretation of the policy (that it provided no coverage because the HOA’s insurance was responsible for all coverage arising from damage to real property within the condominium unit per the CC&Rs) was incorrect. The court found that if such an interpretation were taken to its logical conclusion then Allstate essentially sold the woman an illusory insurance policy—a policy that claimed to cover real property damage she was responsible for, but in reality would provide no such coverage because the CC&Rs required the HOA to be fully responsible for property damage to the interior of her unit. The court was unwilling to interpret the policy in this fashion.

    Second, the court found that if the plaintiff were given the ability to amend her complaint to allege that the property damage was not covered by the HOA’s master policy, she could therefore show that the loss was her insurance responsibility, and that Allstate would be required to provide coverage.

    Although the court of appeal sent the case back to the trial court with instructions to give the plaintiff leave to amend her complaint, this case raised an interesting problem for the insured—on remand (back in the trial court) she would have been required not only to allege that the HOA’s insurance policy did not provide coverage, but would have been required to prove that as well. This would require the insured to essentially step into the shoes of the HOA’s insurer and argue that the HOA policy did not cover the loss as a condition to triggering coverage under the Allstate policy. If she could not do so (i.e., if the court found that the HOA policy provided coverage, not only would her claim against Allstate been lost, but it would have likely been too late to file suit against the HOA’s insurer.

    In the condo/HOA context it is important to remember that there will likely be more than one insurance policy that can arguably cover a given loss (HOA’s policy and Condo owner’s policy). It is important to review both insurance policies, and where appropriate pursue claims under both insurance policies.


    1Palacin v. Allstate Ins. Co. (2004) 119 Cal. App. 4th 855.
    2 As a side note, although the plaintiff did not do so, she might have sued both insurance companies and let them battle over which was responsible for the loss. Each insurer would have undoubtedly pointed the finger at the other, giving the insured even more leverage from a public policy standpoint. She could have then argued that if each insurer was correct that she would be the only loser despite paying premiums for coverage to both insurers (one by way of direct premium, the other collected through HOA dues).

Condominium Insurance Law Archives

General Liability Insurance Articles

  • Many condo insurance claims arise from liability March 8, 2017 Condominium corporations present claims against their insurance policies for a wide range of reasons. Although, it is important to note that current trends in claims are not necessarily unique to condominiums.  That said, multi-unit residential dwellings and communities continue to present some unique claims challenges for insurers across the country. Experience as an insurance broker specializing in this segment shows that the majority of claims arise from liability — specifically slip, trip and fall injuries, water damage, and theft of ...
  • Is the Co-op Liable if Children Get Hurt in Common Areas? (NY) February 7, 2017 Q. Children who live in my co-op building in Yorkville, Manhattan, sometimes play in the common areas. They run up and down stairs and play ball in the outdoor entry area, at times without adult supervision. Do these activities pose a liability to the building or its shareholders if someone gets injured?    Read the Q&A………….
  • IL Supreme Court: Law shields homeowners from suits over snow removal, not ‘unnatural’ ice December 5, 2016 The Illinois Supreme Court has put the freeze on certain slip-and-fall suits, by affirming an appellate ruling that the Illinois Snow and Ice Removal Act immunizes homeowners against suits arising from weather-caused slippery sidewalks, but not from ice buildup caused by negligent drainage.    Read the article…………….
  • Woman alleges homeowners association negligent after she fell on wooden walkway (WV) October 15, 2016 A woman has filed suit against her homeowners association for alleged failure to warn after insufficient measures were taken to prevent an injury.  Jeanette Oxley filed a complaint July 19 in Putnam County Circuit Court against Oakbridge Condominium Owners Association Inc. and Oakbridge Townhomes Owners Association Inc., alleging they breached their duty to protect its residents.    Read the article…………..

General Liability Insurance Articles Archives

 

Insurance – General Articles

  • Liability of Condo Associations for Damages Caused by Failure of the Common Elements March 22, 2017 As a practitioner for many years in the area of association law, I have been aware of a long-standing difference of opinion among association attorneys as to the obligation of a condominium association to pay for damages caused to the Common Elements (CE), Limited Common Elements (LCE), and to the Units and personal property of owners by the failure of the CE. An example would be water damage caused by the failure of the roof to keep rain water out. ...
  • Seventh Circuit Finds Faulty Work Not a Covered “Occurrence” March 22, 2017 In Allied Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Metro North Condo. Assn’     No. 16-1868, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 4107 (7th Cir. Mar. 8, 2017), the Seventh Circuit had occasion to consider whether claims of faulty workmanship could constitute “property damage” caused by an “occurrence” as required by the insuring agreement of a CGL policy.      Read the article……………..
  • ALLIED PROPERTY CASUALTY INSURANCE COMPANY v. METRO NORTH CONDOMINIUM ASSOCIATION March 11, 2017 Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Company issued a commercial general liability policy insuring a subcontractor who worked on a multi-unit residential property owned by Metro North Condominium Association. In 2006 the Metro North property sustained extensive water damage caused by the subcontractor’s defective window installation. Metro North and the subcontractor reached a settlement in which the subcontractor assigned to Metro North its right to any insurance proceeds covering the damage. The subcontractor’s insurers (Allied and another insurer named AMCO) then ...
  • Many condo insurance claims arise from liability March 8, 2017 Condominium corporations present claims against their insurance policies for a wide range of reasons. Although, it is important to note that current trends in claims are not necessarily unique to condominiums.  That said, multi-unit residential dwellings and communities continue to present some unique claims challenges for insurers across the country. Experience as an insurance broker specializing in this segment shows that the majority of claims arise from liability — specifically slip, trip and fall injuries, water damage, and theft of ...

Insurance – General Articles Archives

 

Owners Insurance Articles

  • Dealing With Ice is Anything But Neat December 15, 2016 Those of us in the Northwest were recently hit with the first round of winter snowstorms. My children are avid weather watchers (in hopes of future school closures), so I understand that we are in store for several more storms in the coming months. Winter snow and ice inevitably result in a host of insurance claims. Some of these are relatively predictable. Think auto accidents and trees falling. Fortunately, many of these weather related claims are covered under standard home ...
  • 5 Actions an HOA Board Should Take to Clarify Maintenance & Insurance November 7, 2016 One common subject that often causes confusion in a homeowners association is grasping the difference between the maintenance responsibilities of an association and the items that are covered by the association’s insurance policy. Often owners and even HOA board members may not understand the differences between these two subjects.     Read the article…………..
  • Don’t be confused when it comes to condo insurance October 25, 2016 Condominium insurance is often misunderstood, and for good reason.  Typically, owners are protected under two insurance policies: a master policy for the condo association and an individual, or HO-6, policy. The confusion arises over what each policy covers and the potential for gaps — or a lack of coverage — for certain, often costly, occurrences.  The result can cost unsuspecting owners hundreds or even thousands of dollars.      Read the article…………..
  • Identifying and Protecting Against Storm, Hail and Wind Damage June 24, 2016 Although insurance brokers and agents are not meteorologists, they still play a big role in helping their commercial clients identify and protect their businesses against destruction caused by storms. Preparing clients for the random yet inevitable severe weather patterns that lead to hail and wind damage helps these individuals keep their peace of mind while they also end up saving a considerable amount of money on repairs and higher premium rates. In addition, showing clients that their safety is a ...

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