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A video explaining the trigger of property damage coverage



The term "coverage trigger" means "what event must occur for potential coverage to begin under the terms of the insurance policy" and "what must happen within the effective date of the insurance in order for the coverage potential to be triggered". & # 39; ”[In Re Feature Realty Litig., 468 F. Supp.2d 1

287, 1295, n.2 (E.D. Wash. 2006)]

After the California Supreme Court upheld a continuous trigger in Montrose Chemical Corp. against Admiral Ins. Co. (1995) 10 Cal.4th 645, 685, 42 Cal.Rptr.2d 324, 913 P.2d 878 (Montrose) in the case of successive insurances, property damage that continuously or gradually deteriorates over several insurance periods is potentially covered by all insurances that applied during these periods, so that the insurer's obligation to defend arose under these insurances. The insurers tried to limit the coverage and revised the policy formulation.

The exact question is therefore what result follows the language of the insurance policies that the parties agreed on. The trigger for "continuous damage" has been used mostly in cases where gradual release of pollutants and other environmental damage occurs. After Montrose, the insurer revised its policy of using the language for the very purpose of "obviat [ing] the application of the" progressive injury-continuous trigger "formulated in Montrose." As a result, the defendant's policy states that property damage "that began before the commencement of this insurance will be deemed to have occurred in its entirety before and not during the insurance period." [Ins. Co. of Pa. v. Am. Safety Indem. Co., 32 Cal.App.5th 898, 244 Cal.Rptr.3d 310 (Cal. App., 2019)]

I King Cnty. v. Travelers Indem. Co. (W.D. Wash., 2019), the Louisiana court appealed that allegations by a property owner that an environmental consultant did not detect the presence of contaminants on its property did not trigger coverage under the consultant's liability policy. The court found that the "event" that gave rise to claims against the insured took place years before the issuance of the policy in question.


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Barry Zalma, Esq., CFE, now limits his practice to working as an insurance consultant specializing in insurance coverage, insurance claims handling, infidelity and insurance fraud almost equally for policyholders and policyholders. He also acts as an arbitrator or mediator for insurance-related disputes. He practiced law in California for more than 44 years as an insurance coverage and claims lawyer and more than 52 years in the insurance business. He can be found at http://www.zalma.com and zalma@zalma.com.

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