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The Myth of “Accident-Based” Policies

4/2/2010 Articles

Folklore sometimes develops regarding a particular insurance issue, to the point where the actual policy wording is ignored or forgotten.  One such area is the common discussion about the supposed difference between "accident based" and "occurrence based" coverage.  According to this fairy tale, "Once upon a time, policies covered only events called ‘accidents'...."  The story goes on to reveal how subsequently the insurance industry decreed that coverage would expand to events called "occurrences," and there was much rejoicing among insureds.  This story, though, is a fallacy which completely ignores both the terms of the pre-1966 policy wording, and the entire context of the changes made in the 1966 ISO policy.  In short, it is simply incorrect to say that the earlier policies covered "accidents" and the later policies covered "occurrences."  This story (if believed) deprives insureds of the broad coverage to which they are entitled under the pre-1966 wording.  By treating the word "accident" as a noun, carriers argue the pre-1966 policy applies only to "boom-type events" and not gradual and progressive harm, a severe (and non-existent) restriction on coverage.

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Firm Highlights

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California Supreme Court Ruling Clarifies That the Notice-Prejudice Rule Is a Fundamental Public Policy That May Override Choice of Law Provisions

In  Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company , the California Supreme Court resolved two previously open questions in insurance law: (1) it concluded that the notice-prejudice rule [1]  is a fundamental public policy...

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Event

CalCPA: Wine Industry Conference

Lauren Gilbreth will present the session "Succession Planning" at the CalCPA - Wine Industry Conference. The ever dynamic wine industry is fraught with complicated tax, labor and accounting issues. Please join us as we...

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Publication

3 Lessons For Calif. Insureds From Late-Notice Rule Decision

In Pitzer College v. Indian Harbor Insurance Company,[1] the California Supreme Court resolved two previously open questions in insurance law: (1) it concluded that the notice-prejudice rule[2] is a fundamental public policy of California...

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Event

Complex Civil Litigation Symposium

Doug Dexter is a member of the planning committee for the 2019 Complex Civil Litigation Symposium.

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Publication

San Francisco COPA Program Rules Released

The Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) released program rules for the Community to Purchase Act (COPA) on September 3, 2019. The recently enacted COPA program (codified in Chapter 41B of the...

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Event

Women in Cleantech & Sustainability

Lysondra Ludwig will speak at the WCS Talks - a full day TED-Style event and startup pitch competition hosted by Google.

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Publication

Changing Climate, Changing Laws: Addressing CEQA’s New Wildfire Risk Requirements in Project Development

Wildfires pose an increasingly serious threat to the public and environment in California. So it should be no surprise that the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research (OPR) amended Appendix G of California Environmental...

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News

Kelly Matayoshi Installed as President of UC Hastings College of the Law Alumni Association Board of Governors

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News

Ninth Circuit Upholds Data Miner's Injunction Against LinkedIn

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit sided with data analytics company hiQ Labs, Inc. and upheld an injunction barring LinkedIn from blocking it from accessing information made publicly available by the professional networking site’s users...

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News

Farella Braun + Martel Advises on Sale of 2,300-Acre Foote Ranch

Farella Braun + Martel represented a trust that owned 50% of the iconic 2,300-acre Foote Ranch in Sonoma, California in disputes with the ranch’s co-owners and in the subsequent $23.7 million sale of the...

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