The Mississippi Supreme Court recently handed down a new opinion that rejected the Fifth Circuit decision concerning the Anti-Concurrent Clause (ACC). This new Supreme Court opinion has crucial importance to homeowners and business owners across America. Coastal areas are experiencing population growth, as well as other areas subject to catastrophes such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods.
The High Court’s UNANIMOUS opinion in Corban v. USAA states that the “all-risk” policies mean exactly what policyholders and legal scholars have been saying that they mean:
1) That the word “Concurrent” means “at the same time.”
2) That in all-risk policies, the insurance company bears the burden of proving which part of any loss was caused by an excluded peril. The ACC clause does not vacate the insurance companies’ obligation to determine causation if it wants to exclude coverage for a part of a loss.
Although the Corban decision is welcome relief for policyholders, it does not help the many thousands of policyholders near the Gulf Coast who have been hammered by the insurance companies since 2004. Hundreds of thousands have either had their damages denied, or have accepted claim settlements that were only a fraction of what they should have been able to collect under the terms and conditions of their policies.
Future disaster victims nationwide should benefit from Corban. A unanimous Supreme Court opinion, viewed in light of traditional legal precedent procedures should result in significantly higher claims settlements in every state. Said another way, insurance companies will have a tougher time denying claims in the future, and that is a very good thing.