When defining the concurrent cause doctrine, it is important to understand the concept of causation and the various doctrines that define coverage differently based off these distinctions.
§ 2243 of Florida Jurisprudence, Second Edition broadly defines the concurrent cause doctrine and its applicability as follows:
“The concurrent cause doctrine, which permits coverage under a policy when the loss results from multiple causes as long as one of the causes is an insured risk, is applicable only when the multiple causes are not related and dependent and involve a separate and distinct risk.”
To better understand this doctrine, you need to know what the cause of the loss is and whether it was created concurrently with the un-covered causes stemming from the same event. If they did, the un-covered causes will still be compensated for. A similar doctrine that is not mutually exclusive if applied with the concurrent cause doctrine is the efficient proximate cause doctrine. Under the efficient proximate cause doctrine losses created by causes not covered in your policy may still be compensated for if the event creating the overall loss stemmed substantially or was set in motion by a covered peril. Bartram, LLC v. Landmark American Ins. Co., 864 F. Supp. 2d 1129 (N.D. Fla. 2012).
This is different from the concurrent cause doctrine because it will only expand coverage to non-covered events if the primary cause or creation of the causal link of events was set in play by a covered peril. Knowing this slight distinction between these two doctrines can help you calculate which losses will be covered and which category your insurance policy falls into.
Another clause sometimes found in insurance policies that can void or work around the concurrent cause doctrine are anticoncurrent causation clauses (ACC clauses). These clauses are used by insurance companies to contract their way around the concurrent cause doctrine by excluding coverage if the loss created was created by multiple sources, one of which is not covered in your policy. In some circumstances this can completely bar coverage. These clauses may be disputable if found to be unconscionable or restricted by statutory language and prohibitions provided by your state’s legislation. However, only a minority of jurisdictions void these clauses as a legal default, so such clauses are usually enforceable making it important that you analyze your policy’s contractual language. Examples of statutes that may void this clause are “Valued Policy Statutes”.
The lack of an anticoncurrent clause can also work to the insured’s advantage as well. In Florida, if an ACC clause is absent from your policy and the insurance company fails to establish the source of loss, then the concurrent cause doctrine applies by default. Jones v. Federated National Insurance Company, 235 So. 3d 936 (Fla. 4th DCA 2018).
You can reach Miami Insurance Claims Lawyer J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo by dialing his direct number at (786) 272-5841, calling the main office at (305) 461-1095, or Toll Free at 1 (866) 71-CLAIM or email Attorney Gonzalez-Sirgo directly at[email protected].