Sebo v. American Home Assurance Company, Inc., 41 Fla. L. Weekly S582a

When a covered cause of loss combines with an excluded cause of loss, coverage will be found pursuant to the “concurring cause doctrine.”

The Florida Supreme Court reversed the appellate court and concluded the insured homeowner was entitled to coverage under an “all-risk” homeowners policy after the home sustained damage from both construction defects and hurricane wind/water damage. While damages caused by construction defects were excluded under the policy, windstorm and water damage were covered. Agreeing with a prior decision from the Third District Court of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court applied the “concurring cause doctrine” and rejected the insurer’s argument in favor of application of the “Efficient Proximate Cause” theory. Under the current cause doctrine, coverage exists “where an insured risk constitutes a concurrent cause of the loss even when it is not the prime or efficient cause.” See, Wallach v. Rosenberg, 527 So.2d 1386, 1387 (Fla. 3d DCA 1988). The Wallach court went on to state, “[t]he jury may find coverage where an insured risk constitutes a concurrent cause of the loss even where ‘the insured risk is not the prime or efficient cause of the accident.’”


Case Law Alerts, 1st Quarter, January 2017. Case Law Alerts is prepared by Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin to provide information on recent developments of interest to our readers. This publication is not intended to provide legal advice for a specific situation or to create an attorney-client relationship. Copyright © 2017 Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, all rights reserved. This article may not be reprinted without the express written permission of our firm.