Hurricane Irma: Ingress/Egress Claims

By James S. Harrington

The availability of ingress/egress coverage often depends on whether the policy requires that the loss of ingress/egress be directly caused by damage of the type insured or just directly caused by an insured peril. 

Fountain Powerboat Indus. v. Reliance Ins. Co. 119 F.Supp.2d 552 (E.D.N.C. 2000) dealt with the closure of a flooded road during Hurricane Floyd.  The court allowed the insured’s ingress/egress claim because the insured’s loss of access resulted from a covered peril.  The policy did not require physical damage of a type insured from a covered peril.  See also Houston Cas. Co. v. Lexington Ins. Co. 2006 U.S. Dist. Lexis 45027 (S.D. Tex. 2006).

Policy language varies.  Many ingress/egress clauses require that physical damage of the type insured cause the loss of access.  And some ingress/egress clauses only require that ingress/egress be “impeded” or “impaired,” not “prevented.”  

Two 9/11 cases involving ingress/egress clauses make the point that remote perils or damage will generally not trigger ingress/egress coverage.   

In City of Chicago v. Factory Mutual Ins. Co., 2004 WL 549447 (N.D. Ill. 2004), the City of Chicago’s ingress/egress claim for the closure of its airports on 9/11 was not covered because the damage hundreds of miles away at the WTC and the Pentagon was “indirect and remote” damage excluded by the policy.  In County of Clark v. Factory Mutual Ins. Co., 2005 WL 6720917 (D. Nev. 2005), the court found that the loss of ingress/egress at the Las Vegas airport was caused by the FAA ground stop order on 9/11, not physical damage as required by the policy, and the damage at the WTC and the Pentagon was “too remote in time and place to qualify as direct” under the coverage.

Policy wording always matters, and this is particularly true when applying ingress/egress clauses because wording varies and policy exclusions may impact the coverage analysis.

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