Sunday, October 11, 2009
Mississippi Court Rules Home Insurance Policy Covers Hurricane Wind Damage
Posted By Rico K. Setyo
By Insurance Journal
In a 9-0 decision, the Mississippi Supreme Court has ruled that so-called "all-risk" home insurance policies may cover wind damage from hurricanes, even in situations where the loss is later exacerbated by water from storm surge.
The state high court decision found that language in a policy may exclude storm damage when it is caused by a combination of wind and water acting together. But if wind and water damage can be distinguished, this exclusion does not apply. The court said a jury must decide whether the damage to the home of Margaret and Magruder Corban was caused by wind or water.
The ruling is a blow to some insurers that had argued that such damage is excluded by anti-concurrent cause (ACC) and other language in their policies. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had sided with insurers in previous cases.
The state's high court has now decided that the ACC clause is not applicable because the wind and water losses were separate or in sequence, and not "indivisible." Justice Michael K. Randolph wrote for the unanimous court:
"We conclude that the ACC clause has no application for losses caused by wind peril. An insurer may not abrogate its duty to indemnify for such loss by the occurrence of a subsequent, excluded cause or event."
Once the wind loss occurred, the homeowners were entitled to coverage under the policy, the Mississippi court said.