Lessons from the Caged Bird: the Impact of Mass Catastrophes on Policy Language and Interpretation
Duration: 94 minutes
Catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes and terrorist attacks have had a significant impact on both insurance coverage of such events and policy language. For example, Superstorm Sandy was not a hurricane when it hit land, so hurricane deductibles could not be used as a factor in judging claims, leading to language that refers instead to “named storms.” In this course, Daniel Gershburg of Gershburg Law Firm introduces two speakers: Sherilyn Pastor, practice group leader of the Insurance Coverage Group at McCarter & English, and William Wilson, head of the New Jersey office of Mound Cotton Wollan & Greengrass. These presenters discuss some of the insurance policy language that has been most affected by changes due to mass catastrophes.
Wilson and Pastor discuss in detail the area of business interruptions: Factors that they touch on include types of deductibles, whether an insured can recover under one or multiple sublimits to a policy, and why it matters whether a loss is sustained by single occurrence or by multiple occurrences. Other topics that they cover include causation (determining exactly which peril caused the loss in a situation that may have involved flood damage, wind damage, fire damage, or others), exclusions to coverage, contingent business interruption (when can an insured recover for business loss caused by damage to a supplier or customer?), extra expenses, and terrorism.
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