Law blog

Ms. Hackett joins new CBA Insurance Committee

The newly formed Insurance Committee of the Colorado Bar Association had its First Annual Meeting on Thursday, February 6. An Executive Committee was selected as follows: Chair – Brad Levin, Levin & Sitcoff; Vice Chair – Terence Ridley, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell; Secretary – Garth Gersten, Shapiro Bieging Barber Otteson; At-Large – Heather Hackett, Levy Law, P.C. and Keith Olivera, White & Steele. The committee is focused on promoting professionalism and collegiality within the insurance coverage bar. Ms. Hackett is honored to be a part of this newly formed committee and looks forward to working with the members of the Executive Committee as well as other members of the insurance bar to further the goals of the committee.

Ambiguous Insurance Policies & Your Rights

By Jeffrey Boxer

Roof with extensive damage as an example of what an insurance policy may or may not cover.

If an insurance company writes ambiguous policy language, the insured has coverage.  In a recent case handled by this office, involving a roofing claim and subsequent denial by American Family Insurance, American Family attempted to limit coverage (pay less to its insureds than a neutral appraiser had found the claim to be worth) with a provision that read, in relevant part, that the insurer “will not pay for any damage caused by hail to any metal vent, flashing, drip edge, ridge, valley, accessory, or trim unless such metal component . . . will no longer: (1) prevent water from entering the building; or (2) perform any other intended function.”  As the term “any other intended function” was not defined in the policy, this office argued that such exclusionary clauses exempting the insurer from providing coverage in certain circumstances must be written in clear and specific language and construed in favor of coverage.  See, e.g., McGowan v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co., 100 P.3d 521, 523 (Colo. App. 2004).  After voluminous briefing, the Federal Court for the District of Colorado the term “perform any other intended function” was in fact ambiguous.

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