Businesses purchase insurance as a means to limit their exposure to liability when unexpected, though calculably foreseeable events occur. Whether claims arise from accidents, deaths, or other catastrophes, however, insurance providers from which businesses have purchased coverage may not always uphold the contractual obligations they owe policy holders. This can be especially true in cases involving multiple events that require multiple deductibles.
At Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C., our Houston insurance law attorneys have earned a reputation for zealously protecting the rights and interests of clients in all types of business, contract, and insurance matters, including those involving insurance coverage issues and disputes. Backed by over 130 years of collective experience, our legal team provides tailored representation to clients across Texas, and utilizes our breadth of insight to help them explore available options – whether that means negotiations and out-of-court advocacy, or resolutions secured through arbitration or litigation.
Discuss an insurance law matter personally with an award-winning Texas lawyer. Call (713) 909-7323 or contact us onlineto request an initial consultation.
While the facts of a case and the terms of any policy are unique, policy holders can face challenges when it comes to insurance coverage and multiple “occurrences” that require multiple deductibles. For example, policy holders that purchase continuous insurance coverage (“blanket policies”) may be required by providers to satisfy multiple deductibles or SIRs (self-insured retention) before accessing the benefits of any policy. This can happen in any business or industry, and especially so when businesses are service-based, property owners, or involved in construction. Common claims that may trigger multiple deductibles can include:
In Texas, the general rule is that insured parties have the right to choose which policy to be used when responding to a single “occurrence” that triggers multiple policies (often the policy has the lowest deductible). While there are means to protect policy holders from insurance companies that “stack” deductibles, avoiding multiple deductibles depends on the existence of a single “occurrence.” Determining whether or not losses arise from one of more “occurrences” can therefore be a significant point of contention that gives rise to dispute.
Determining if there is a single “occurrence” or multiple “occurrences” depends in part on how policies define the term “occurrence,” and the a policy’s terms regarding deductibles. For instance, some policies may specifically note that continuous or repeat exposure to conditions that are generally the same should be deemed one “occurrence.” When “occurrence” is not defined in an insurance policy, Texas courts apply a “cause” analysis when evaluating the facts involved and whether they constitute one or more “occurrences” in terms of the events that caused the underlying liability or losses.
Should disputes arise over what is and what is not a single “occurrence,” policy holders can work with experienced insurance lawyers like those at Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. to protect their rights. Though insurance companies want to protect their own interests and shift some of their own risks to the insured, they should not require policy holders to pay more than one deduction or SIR for losses arising from a single “occurrence.” Any determination otherwise could constitute an insurance provider’s failure to uphold the obligations they owed their insured.
Addressing matters as complex as insurance coverage, especially when they have the potential for significantly impacting a business’ financial interests, can be a challenging and high stakes matter. These cases can also be subject to evolving insurance law, major legislative changes, and important decisions reached in notable cases. Our legal team stays apprised of these issues, and leverages our insight handling insurance matters for a diverse clientele to seek the most appropriate resolutions in even the most difficult and disputed cases.
As a firm that has become known for our work in business law and litigation, insurance, and construction law, Hendershot, Cannon & Hisey, P.C. has the experience needed to resolve insurance coverage issues, including any disputes, coverage denials, or delays involving multiple events and multiple deductibles. To learn more about your rights as a policy holder and how our award-winning legal team can help you, contact us online or call (713) 909-7323.