Many of you are familiar with the following scenario—an insurance claim is denied because there is no coverage. Subsequently, the insured pursues a claim against their insurance broker for failing to obtain the coverage requested and pursues damages against the insurance broker for the insurance coverage that would have been available but for the negligent conduct of the insurance broker.

However, what many of you may not be familiar with is a similar claim that can be made against the Home Owner Association (HOA) where the HOA is required to obtain specified types of insurance coverage for the benefits of its members (according to the terms and conditions of the of CC&Rs) but fails to do so.


Continue Reading Homeowner Association Managers, Agents and Officers Beware – Check Insurance Requirements to Avoid Lawsuits From Individual Members!!

Pollution exclusions in insurance policies are typically complex provisions that require a significant amount of legal analysis to apply correctly. Over the years, the body of law interpreting these exclusions has evolved into what is now a fairly narrow interpretation of what is and is not “pollution” under these exclusions. For example, in the case of MacKinnon v. Truck Ins. Exch., 73 P. 3d 1205 (Cal. 2003), the California Supreme Court limited a pollution exclusion in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy, holding that the exclusion only applied to “injuries arising from events commonly thought of as pollution, i.e., environmental pollution.”


Continue Reading Even with a Narrow Pollution Exclusion Limitation, California Court Denies Condominium Association’s Property Claim for Asbestos Cleanup

The question of insurer responsibility for damages from a pipe break in a condominium association is a common question. Often times, the individual unit owner has an insurance policy providing coverage for portions of the interior of that unit, while the association has a master policy providing coverage for association property pursuant to the condominium declarations and certain state statutes. In a recent California case, Dover Village Association v. Jennison, (Cal. Ct. App. December 21, 2010), an individual unit owner had a leaky sewer pipe two feet beneath the concrete slab of his Newport Beach condo. The association said he was responsible for the repair bill on the theory that the sewer pipe was “exclusive use common area” for which he was responsible. The trial court entered a judgment declaring that the association should bear the expense of the repair cost, and awarded that unit owner damages, attorney’s fees and court costs. The association appealed that judgment.


Continue Reading Association Held Responsible For Repairs To Interconnected System Of Pipes Viewed As Common Property

What happens when a condominium or homeowners association enters into a settlement agreement with an insurance company and later finds out that the settlement was not enough or was fraudulently induced? That is exactly what happened in California in the case of Village Northridge Homeowners Ass’n v. State Farm Fire and Cas. Co., 237 P.3d 598 (Cal. 2010).


Continue Reading Can a Condo Association Get Out of an Insurance Settlement Agreement?