Even seemingly clear policy language defining an “occurrence” can be difficult to apply, if a large hurricane such as Harvey causes extensive damage due to various weather elements over an extended time period, with multiple landfalls. Here, because Harvey made multiple landfalls and caused damage to property during a multiday period, Hurricane Harvey will present some policyholders with the opportunity to present their claim as a loss caused by multiple occurrences. Thus, some insureds may have the opportunity to access additional or multiple limits, albeit with the potential for multiple deductibles or retentions to apply.
From the insurers’ perspective, there may be an effort to minimize the amount of coverage available for losses caused by Hurricane Harvey by limiting the policyholder’s claim to a single occurrence (i.e. a single limit of liability). Some insurers may improperly attempt to require a policyholder to incur more than one deductible or retention before providing any coverage. Where a deductible or retention is very large relative to the size of the loss, application of multiple deductibles or retentions can be akin to a denial of coverage.
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