In the 1980s, the Policy sang about synchronicity: “Effect without a cause...Sub-atomic laws, scientific pause....”
Psychologist Carl Jung offered a better
explanation of the concept, stating that
synchronicity describes events that are
meaningful coincidences if they occur
without a causal relationship.
In determining coverage for insurance
disputes over the wording “arising out of,”
however, synchronicity won’t do. As the following recent court decisions demonstrate,
there must be a causal relationship between
the loss and the risk from which it arises.
Trip and fall
For example, in Chappaqua Cent. School
Dist. v. Philadelphia Indem. Ins. Co., 148
A.D.3d 980 (2017), a New York court
ruled on a case involving personal injury
and leased premises.
Patricia Brunsting was employed by
Chappaqua Children’s Workshop, Inc.,
which operated an after-school program
in the cafeteria of the Robert E. Bell Mid-
dle School that it leased from the owner,
the Chappaqua Central School District.
She was injured when she tripped and
fell while descending an exterior staircase from the school to the parking lot.
The Workshop had a liability policy with
Philadelphia claimed there was no coverage for the school district, which was
an additional insured on the Workshop’s
policy, because Brunsting was not injured
on the leased property and that the stairway was not necessarily incidental to the
use of the leased premises.
The school district claimed that the
wording on the policy covering “liability
arising out of the ownership, maintenance
or use of that part of the premises leased
or rented to you” included the broad,
comprehensive term “arising out of.”
The court stated that the term “arising
out of” requires only a causal relationship
between the injury and the risk for which
insurance coverage is provided in deter-
mining coverage for an additional insured.
Because the Workshop rented only the
cafeteria, the court ruled that there was no
causal relationship between the injury and
the leased premises, so no coverage applied.
Likewise, the court found no coverage
applied in Vermont Mutual Ins. Co. v.
Samson, Civil Action No. 3:16CV-00034
(VLB) 2017 WL 1091268 (D. Conn.
March 20, 2017), but this time because
there was a causal relationship between
the injury and a policy exclusion.
Vermont issued a homeowners policy
to Paul and Debra Samson with an exclusion for bodily injury arising out of or in
connection with a business. The policy
carried an endorsement that also excluded liability coverage for business activities
Coverage Disputes and
“Arising out of” Claims