“Why Won’t My Homeowners Insurance Cover My Loss?”: Reassessing Property Insurance Concurrent Causation Coverage Disputes

Property insurance coverage disputes can be extremely complex cases when there are multiple concurrent causes in a causal chain of events and when some of these concurrent causes are covered under the policy language but other concurrent causes are excluded from coverage. To complicate matters enormously, there are no fewer than three different judicial approaches attempting to resolve this concurrent causation interpretive conundrum. Over the past two decades, a number of property insurance companies have attempted to address this interpretive problem contractually by inserting so-called anti-concurrent causation clauses into their property insurance policy language. But these anti-concurrent causation clauses have engendered unintended and unexpected interpretive consequences of their own that have not been adequately explored by the courts or commentators. The purpose of this Article is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the various interpretive approaches in resolving property insurance concurrent causation coverage disputes and to suggest six policyholder defenses to combat the often unchallenged judicial acceptance of such anti-concurrent causation clauses in property insurance policies.