Tuesday, November 1, 2016

“Commencing” Deemed Ambiguous in Property Insurance Policy

Originally published by Kevin Pollack.

A federal District Court in Illinois has determined that the term “commencing” is ambiguous in a property insurance policy that provides coverage for “loss or damage commencing [d]uring the policy period…[w]ithin the…United States of America.”1

At issue in Temperature Service Company, Inc. v. Acuity, was whether property damage, that began before the policy period, but continued on and after the policy period “commenced”, was covered under the first party property insurance policy issued by Acuity.
Temperature Service Company’s (“Temperature”) commercial property was insured by Acuity from January 1, 2013, to January 1, 2014. In August 2013, Temperature excavated around the building to construct a storage addition. During the excavation process, Temperature discovered that the soil around and under the insured property contained “urban backfill”— construction debris, asphalt, concrete and other…


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