February 22, 2017 Practice Points

Supreme Court of Florida Weighs in on Concurrent Causation Versus Efficient Proximate Cause

The Supreme Court of Florida concluded 2016 with an important first-party property decision, holding that where multiple independent perils combine to cause a loss, there is coverage so long as one of the perils is insured

by Gregory D. Podolak

The Supreme Court of Florida concluded 2016 with an important first-party property decision, holding that where multiple independent perils combine to cause a loss, there is coverage so long as one of the perils is insured. The decision, Sebo v. American Home Assurance Company, Inc. , No. SC14-897, 2016 WL 7013859 (Fla. Dec. 1, 2016), has added significance because it involves a common fact pattern—where faulty work and natural elements combine to cause a property loss.

In Sebo, a Florida homeowner identified substantial water leaks in a recently purchased home stemming from design and construction defects. Hurricane Wilma followed shortly after and exacerbated the damage. American Home Assurance Company (AHAC) insured the home for weather-related perils and excluded coverage for defective construction. Since the home suffered losses from both perils, AHAC denied coverage based on the contributing role of defective construction.

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