Interpreting Insurance Coverage and Exclusions: When Sudden means Sudden and EIFS means Faulty

Insurance notebook file

Attorney Ben Volpe analyzes Mock v. Allstate Ins. Co.

June 15, 2020
Ben Volpe - Colorado Construction Litigation Blog

EIFS, or Exterior Insulation and Finish System, is an integrated exterior insulation and synthetic stucco system, praised for its energy efficiency.[1] However, EIFS has come to be well known in the construction defect world as placing homes at risk due to a lack of a built-in moisture management system. Before long, insurance companies recognized the risk and began explicitly excluding coverage for EIFS-related damage. However, EIFS exclusions have not always been so clearly set forth in some policies, causing insurance coverage litigation.

Recently, a Greenwood Village couple, Mark and Susan Mock, lost this fight.

Built in 1994, the Mocks’ home was constructed with an EIFS system. The Mocks carried a homeowner’s insurance policy through Allstate, which covered “sudden and accidental loss” to property, but excluded coverage for “planning, construction or maintenance” issues. Such “planning, construction or maintenance” exclusions included “faulty, inadequate or defective designs.”

A few months after a hailstorm, the Mocks discovered moisture-related damage to their home’s EIFS system. They reported the damage to Allstate, but Allstate would not cover it, reasoning that the damage to the EIFS system was excluded as a design and/or construction failure, and thus not covered as a “sudden and accidental” loss. The experts who evaluated the damage concluded it was the result of inherent flaws in the EIFS systems common in the 1994 timeframe, which involved long term moisture intrusion behind the cladding and no means for the water to escape.

Mr. Volpe may be contacted at volpe@hhmrlaw.com



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