May 01, 2012

Occurrences Under a Commercial General Liability Policy

Joel R. Mosher

From The Reference Handbook on the Comprehensive General Liability Policy, Chapter 4

  • Learn about the basic concept of fortuity.
  • Learn about the known loss doctrine and the loss in progress rule.

The Fundamental Concept of “Fortuity”

In the not-too-distant past, one could discuss the backbone of the commercial general liability (CGL) policy in terms of “fortuity.” Unfortunately, the meaning of “fortuitous” has been slipping away from its etymological moorings. Here, “fortuitous” means “occurring by chance,” not “fortunate” or “lucky.”1 Or, as more comprehensively defined in Black’s Law Dictionary, it means “[h]appening by chance or accident. Occurring unexpectedly, or without known cause. Accidental; undesigned; adventitious. Resulting from unavoidable physical causes.”2

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