Over the past few years, this survey of developments in property insurance litigation seemed to be dominated by cases arising from certain sets of common facts: initially hurricane-related claims arising out of Hurricane Katrina and other storms and, more recently, claims arising from Chinese drywall. This year we do not see a common factual theme: property insurance litigation has returned, it seems, to cases revolving around more individual fact patterns.
Practitioners will note, though, at least two themes in the cases we review. The question of what caused a given loss—and the policy language that in various ways attempts to address those losses resulting in some way from at least one covered risk and one or more noncovered risks—continues to create thorny questions for insurers, policyholders, and courts. Several of the decisions we review throughout the survey address this complicated issue. Another major theme is the rights and duties of the parties to a property insurance contract after a loss, including appraisal, the application of the suit limitations clause, and the requirements to prove a loss, all of which gave rise to interesting opinions during the survey period.
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