Concurrent Causation: An Adjuster's Dilemma


Adjusters International Disaster Recovery Consulting

Concurrent Causation: An Adjuster’s Dilemma

By Joseph S. Harrington, CPCU, ARP

Few issues are more vexing for adjusters than when a policyholder incurs damage from two or more causes at the same time and at least one of those causes is excluded from coverage under the applicable property policy.

“Anti-concurrent causation” (ACC) provisions have been around since the 1980s, but the concept and its application was scrutinized and tested again in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Superstorm Sandy in 2012.


Concurrent causation. The tongue-twister nature of the term is indicative of the dilemmas that property damage losses which are impacted by more than one cause have long created for insureds, insurers and the courts. Definitions and interpretations of coverage and exclusions have taken various twists and turns, and continue to do so.

In this edition of Adjusting Today, author Joseph Harrington traces the origins and evolution of concurrent causation, the insurance industry’s actions to address it, and key court decisions — including a very recent one—affecting its implementation. His article draws fromand is a timely successor to our previous issue on this subject written by Paul O. Dudey.

Once again, it is relevant information for any insured whose operations could be damaged or interrupted by more than one of the many exposures to loss a business faces today.

Sheila E. Salvatore Editor