The August 2003 Blackout and Insurance Coverage for Power Outage Losses

A valuable guide to insurance coverage for power outages large and small.

March 1, 2004

Reprinted from the Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Law Journal, Volume 39, Number 3, Spring 2004

The August 2003 power blackout in the Midwest and Northeastern United States was devastating, the largest in history. And the official report on the August 2003 blackout predicts more such outages if significant changes are not made to the North American power system.

This article provides a valuable guide to insurance coverage for power outages large and small. It discusses claims for such losses under property and business interruption policies as well as boiler and machinery insurance, and reviews the case law arising from previous blackouts, brownouts, and other-outs. The requisites to coverage in the first instance, as well as potentially applicable exclusions and specialized coverages and riders, are all addressed.

The articles on our website include some of the publications and papers authored by our attorneys, both before and after they joined our firm. The content of these articles should not be taken as legal advice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views or official position of Robins Kaplan LLP.


Scott G. Johnson


Chair, Minneapolis Insurance Group

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