The Florida Court of Appeals recently held the the policy's exclusion for repeated water seepage over a period of fourteen days or more does not exclude loss caused by the seepage for the first thirteen days. Hicks v. Am. Integrity Ins. Co. of Florida, 2018 Fla. App. LEXIS 2616 (Fla. Ct. App. Feb. 23, 2018).
Hicks held an "all risks" policy from American Integrity Insurance Company (AICC). In September 2012, while Hicks was out of town, the water supply line to his refrigerator began leaking, slowly at first, then steadily increasing. By the time Hicks returned on October 25, the supply line was discharging one thousand gallons a day. Hicks filed a claim with AIIC. The expert retained by AIIC determined that the pipe had been leaking for five weeks or more. AIIC therefore denied the claim, relying on a portion of the policy that read, "We do not insure . . . for loss . . caused by . . . constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water . . . over a period of 14 or more days."
Hicks sued for breach of contract. AIIC moved for summary judgment, arguing that because the leak occurred over a period of more than fourteen days, the provision unambiguously excluded coverage for all of Hicks' losses. Hicks cross moved for summary judgment, contending that all losses occurring within the first thirteen days were covered. An expert report from a forensic general contractor was submitted with the motion attempting to calculate the amount of damage to Hicks' home within the first thirteen days of the leak. The trial court granted summary judgment in AIIC's favor.
On appeal, Hicks contended that the exclusion applied only to losses caused by water on day 14 and beyond. The appellate court agreed, holding that a policy excluding losses caused by constant or repeated leakage or seepage over a period of fourteen days or more did not unambiguously exclude losses caused by leakage or seepage over a period of thirteen days or less.
Summary judgment entered in favor of AIIC was reversed and the case was remanded for entry of partial summary judgment in favor of Hicks on the issue of coverage within the first thirteen days of the leak. The extent of the losses would be determined at trial.