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A lowered feeling is not enough for coverage



Insurance that protects against the risk of loss of a ship – whether it works on inland waterways or on the open sea – always requires the insured to keep the ship safe. Failure to do so will inhibit coverage. Seaworthiness is usually defined in the policy and must be proven by the insured. Progressive Gulf Insurance Company v. William Burke Civil Action No. 7: 18-cv-00293, United States District Court of Western Roanoke Division Western Virginia (May 10, 2019), the USDC was asked to determine whether the Progressive Gulf Insurance Company is obliged to assure the loss of a sail owned by William Burke, who sank at the harbor on Smith Mountain Lake, behind Burke's house. Progressive was moved for summary judgment because it claimed that it had no obligation to provide coverage for that loss, because Burke failed to winter-view the yacht, which was the cause of the damage.

BACKGROUND

Progressive's summary assessment movement presented a numbered statement of uncontested facts. Burke made no attempt to respond to specific facts or to quote any specific parts of the record, as provided for in federal civil procedure 56 c. Therefore, the Court considered the facts set out in Progressive Dispute.

The sink of the boat

The boat owned by Burke is a 2006 adapted catamaran motor boat (the ship). The vessel contains two air conditioning units (A / C units), which were installed more than ten years ago. According to the reports from Progressive's two experts, the ship fell because it had not been properly winterized.

In particular, neither Burke nor his adult son, Travis, to whom Burke had delegated the winter work ̵

1; the winter-defined A / C units. The manufacturer's instructions required that all water in the A / C units be replaced with frost protection and that the ship's sea cranes be closed. It is common ground that none of these steps were taken.

Since there was water left in the ship's raw water inlet, it froze water. It then expanded and caused some of the A / C system to crack and break freely from its mount. In turn, it allowed the sea water to enter the vessel through its open sea dock to flow unhindered in and out of the broken sieve, which flooded the ship until it sank.

The Progressive Policy

issued a "Virginia Boat and Personal Watercraft" policy (policy) to Burke. The policy was an "approved value policy" with a coverage limit of $ 150,000. The policy excludes from coverage a loss "arising from a covered watercraft not properly winterized according to the manufacturer's specifications, subject to local customs."

The policy required that the ship be "seaworthy" which was defined as suitable to "resist the foreseeable and expected conditions of weather, wind, waves and rigors for normal and foreseeable use in what type of water a watercraft will be located" .

In order for a watercraft to be considered safe at sea, the policy requires the insured to exercise initiated accuracy to operate the watercraft properly comply with all federal security standards and regulations

DISCUSSION

According to Virginia law, an insurance policy interprets a legal issue. As with any contract, the court must interpret the policy by determining the parties' intention from the words they have used in the document.

The court ruled that there was plenty of evidence that the loss was caused by a failure of winter ice according to the manufacturer's specifications, subject to local customs. One of Smith Mountain Lake's marine managers willing to talk to Progressive experts also knew that the usual winterization for a ship in the area included removing all water from systems, lines and accessories and replacing it with antifreeze – exactly what AC recommended. .

Therefore, it is undisputed that neither Burke nor Travis followed the manufacturer's recommended maintenance guidelines for winterization of the A / C units. The ship was not soiled, as that term is defined in the policy. Because this failure was the undisputed cause of the loss, the loss and damage is not covered by the policy, according to its clear and unambiguous terms, and a summary judgment was granted in favor of Progressive.

USDC, by Elizabeth K. Dillon United District District Judge, read a clear and unambiguous political condition, applied the facts set by the insurer and decided that the ship fell because it was not properly winterized and therefore was not seaworthy under the policy. Insurance never compensates for any risk of loss. Everyone has conditions and exclusions, as well as progressive politics. We read here another suit that can probably justify sanctions to get a frivolous costume.


© 2019 – Barry Zalma

This article and all the blog posts on this site, melt and summarize issues published by the courts of the various states and the United States. The court decisions have been modified from the actual language of the court decisions, condensed to facilitate reading and convey the author's views in each individual case.

Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to service as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance management, bad faith assurance, and insurance fraud nearly equal 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 cover and law firm and more than 50 years in the insurance industry. He is available at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com.

Mr. Zalma is the first recipient of the first annual liability magazine / ACE Legend Award.

Over the past 51 years, Barry Zalma has put his life on insurance, insurance claims and the need to defeat insurance fraud. He has created the following library of books and other materials to enable insurers and their claims to become insurance managers.

Insurance is an agreement between an insurance and insurance provider. It is obtained by contacting the insurer as a potential insured insurance. Homeowners policy is a specialized insurance policy that protects the homeowner from certain risks of loss of the real and personal property of the home, the exposure the insured faces for the damage to a domestic worker and the exposure the insured faces for liability for bodily injury or property damage caused by third parties . The book explains how to buy a homeowner policy and how to collect all claims by the homeowner the insurer.

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