Many state statutes and condominium bylaws require the purchase of reasonably available property insurance which covers all direct physical risks of loss on an extended and replacement cost basis. One issue I have heard associations and their insurance agents ask: “Is flood insurance reasonably available” so that it has to be insured.

This question was recently answered in Porter v. Beaverdam Run Condominium Association.1 The holding is significant:

[W]e conclude that the Association is obligated by the Declaration and the Condominium Act to maintain insurance against all risks of direct physical loss which are commonly insured against, to the extent that such insurance is reasonably available. We further conclude that flood is a risk of direct physical loss which is commonly insured against for residential buildings located in a FEMA-designated flood zone. Accordingly, we conclude that the Association has an obligation to provide flood insurance for the Community’s buildings located within the FEMA flood zone each year when such insurance is reasonably available.

Condominium associations should be very wary that some insurance agents could leave the Board and Association liable for uninsured or underinsured losses by selling cheap insurance. These agents compete on premium price and propose packages of insurance that do not include commonly available coverages, especially sufficient law and ordinance coverage, flood, and earthquake coverage.

Thought For The Day

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.” 
—Martin Luther King, Jr.


1 Porter v. Beaverdam Run Condominium Association, No. COA17-793, 2018 WL 2011355 (N.C. App. May 1, 2018).

Continuing my state-by-state review of mandatory condominium insurance requirements, this post will look at Indiana—The Hoosier State.

Condominium insurance requirements in Indiana are detailed in the Indiana Code. Section 32-25-8-9 discusses insurance and co-owners, stating in part:

Sec. 9. (a) The co-owners, through the association of co-owners, shall purchase:

1. A master casualty policy, payable as part of the common expenses, affording fire and extended coverage in an amount consonant with the full replacement value of the improvement that in whole or in part comprises the common areas and facilities; and

2. A master liability policy in an amount:
a. Required by the bylaws;
b. Required by the declaration; or
c. Revised from time to time by a decision of the board of directors of the association.

The section also states that the association must maintain a policy covering land or improvements on which the association has or shares ownership or other rights.

The Indiana Code contains no language regarding waiver of subrogation rights, nor does it contain any language prohibiting unit owners from obtaining their own insurance.

 

After Hurricane Irma and Maria caused damage to many condominiums in Puerto Rico, it is the Board of Directors’ job to search for estimates and determine how the damage will be repair. Many will be limited by the amount of compensation approved by their insurers and will be forced to repair only the necessary parts of the common areas. It is important for any decision to be clear, in good faith and not exceed the authorization of the Board of Directors in the repair of damage caused by the hurricane.

Continue Reading Puerto Rico: Condominium Repair Negotiations vs. Unjust Enrichment

Continuing my state-by-state review of mandatory condominium insurance requirements, this post will look at the state of Virginia, known as the "Mother of Presidents" because it is the birthplace of eight U.S. Presidents.

Continue Reading Is Your Virginia Condominium in Compliance with the Law? Mandatory Virginia Insurance Requirements

An insurance agent’s claim of “cheaper” premiums could come with the risk of less coverage. A prudent condominium association must know what is required to be insured by law.

Continue Reading Florida Condominium Insurance Coverage: What Insurance Coverage Must Be Obtained? Who is responsible If Condominium Insurance Is Not Purchased?

In Essex Insurance Co. v. DiMucci Development Corp. of Ponce Inlet Inc., U.S. District Judge Roy B. Dalton Jr. recently held that Evanston Insurance Company has no duty to defend a builder in a lawsuit alleging construction defects at one of its Florida condominium complexes based on an exclusion in the policy for damage to the developer’s own work.1

Continue Reading Court Decision on “Your Work” Exclusion in a CGL Policy is a Head Scratcher

A federal district court in Washington recently decided that a claim against the owner of a condominium unit arising from the owner’s installation of a hardwood floor without the necessary permission (as spelled out in the Condo association’s bylaws), did not amount to an “occurrence” under the owner’s insurance policy.1

Continue Reading Lawsuit against Condo Owner for Improvements Done in Violation of CC&Rs Did Not Amount to an Occurrence Under the Condo Owner’s Insurance Policy

Several weeks ago I blogged about the way insurers sometimes use “other insurance” provisions to argue that they are not responsible for paying for a loss because “other insurance” is required to do so. In today’s blog I will address a similar and related topic that comes up in scenarios involving condominium and homeowners’ associations.

Condominium Owner Insurance (COI) policies are designed to insure everything inside the condo, while recognizing the Home Owners’ Association (HOAs) will insure the common areas. The HOA coverage is often referred to as "walls out" coverage, because everything within the walls of the owner’s individual unit is usually that person’s individual responsibility (But in some condo policies, the interior, "bare" walls are covered by the HOA master policy as well). Generally, the HOA’s governing documents (CC&Rs) should typically state exactly which areas the HOA policy insures.

Continue Reading Which Policy Covers My Condominium Property Damage Claim?

Damages caused by faulty workmanship has always been a hot topic in insurance law. In the Fall of 2015, the New Jersey Appellate Court stated that insurers are liable for damages arising out of a subcontractor’s defective work.1 Given this is such highly debated topic, it is not surprising that the Supreme Court of New Jersey has agreed to weigh in on whether consequential damages stemming from a subcontractor’s faulty work on a condominium complex constitute an occurrence under a general contractor’s insurance policy.

Continue Reading Court Agrees to Weigh in Whether Insurers are Liable for Subcontractor’s Defective Work

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!!