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PA Supreme Court Declines to Extend Multiple Trigger Theory to Property Damage Claims

12/31/2014

Where an insured loss causes damages that straddle multiple policy periods, insurers and insureds must determine which policies are implicated. Clear rules regarding “trigger” of coverage benefit policyholders seeking to invoke coverage, an insurer gauging its own duties, or an insurer pursuing contribution from other carriers issuing successive policies. In Pennsylvania National Mut. Cas. Ins. Co. v. St. John, No. 86 MAP 2012 (December 15, 2014), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed use of the “manifestation trigger” as the “general rule” for determining when commercial general liability (CGL) policies are triggered. The Court rejected an attempt to apply the “multiple trigger” theory to property damage claims. In so doing, the Court held that a policy is triggered when an injury is reasonably ascertainable, irrespective of whether or not the injured party understands that she has a cause of action.

 

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