Continuing from my January 3, 2011, blog,Florida Southern District Grants Summary Judgment Against QBE Finding Coverage For Association’s Windows And Sliding Doors Damaged By Hurricane Wilma, QBE disagreed with the association’s interpretation of the term “fixtures” in the case, Royal Bahamian Association, Inc. v. QBE Insurance Corporation, No. 10-21511 (S.D. Fla. October 28, 2010).

The issue surfaced regarding the parties’ differing interpretations over the policy provisions within an endorsement, which stated:

1. Building, meaning the building or structure described in the Declarations, including:
***
b. Fixtures, outside of individual units, including outdoor fixtures;
***

f. Any of the following types of property contained within a unit, if your Condominium Association Agreement requires you to insure it:

(1) Your fixtures, improvements and alterations that are a part of the building or structure;
***
g. Fixtures, installations or additions, owned by unit-owners and located inside individual units:

(1) Initially installed in accordance with the original plans and specifications, or replacements of like kind or quality as those initially installed; or
(2) As existed at the time the unit was initially conveyed, if the original plans and specifications are not available.

The term “fixtures” is generally defined as items that have, by physical annexation, become part of the real property to which they are attached. Despite this general definition, the parties in Royal Bahamian disagreed over whether the sliding glass doors and windows of the association were in fact “fixtures” within the policy definition for “Building,” and whether they were within the coverage of the association policy.

The Judge in Royal Bahamian, ultimately denied both parties’ motions for summary judgment regarding their interpretations of the term “fixtures” because there was a lack of evidence regarding whether the windows and sliding glass doors were located “inside” or “outside” of the individual units. The Court stated that it could not make a guess on that distinction in its coverage determination.

Ultimately, despite the parties’ disagreement over the term “fixtures,” the court granted summary judgment in favor of the association and coverage for the windows and doors classified as some “other portion” of condominium property in the policy.

Some condominium declarations define the boundaries of the units and may shed some light on the distinction between “fixtures” on the interior or exterior of the units. Contract and policy definitions may sometimes make a murky situation out of what is generally understood to be clear. Associations should consult with experienced representatives if  this question over “fixtures” and the definition of Condominium Property arises.

Are you looking for help?

Let us help you. Call now: (877) 449-4700

info@merlinlawgroup.com | Monday – Friday, 9 AM – 5PM

Why choose Merlin Law Group?

Founded in 1985, our law firm continues to be dedicated to representing insurance policyholders throughout the United States. Collectively, our lawyers are licensed to practice in 25 states. In fact, many of Merlin Law Group’s attorneys worked for the insurance industry before joining the firm, so they bring a strong understanding of insurance company practices. Anyone can file a claim, but it takes experience, knowledge, and savvy to achieve a truly successful outcome. As The Policyholder’s Advocate®, Merlin Law Group aims to drive positive change within the insurance sector by obtaining justice for our clients and educating policyholders on how to navigate insurer bad faith tactics.

When we handle property insurance claim disputes, we hire the most experienced and qualified expert witnesses to evaluate your insurance claim and testify on your behalf. In most cases, we can advance the fees for this. Typically, we hire experts such as engineers, contractors, independent roofing consultants and other professionals to perform a thorough assessment on all possible causes of damages. This is a process that provides us with a very detailed and all-inclusive estimate for determining and justifying a proper settlement. Our use of these professional expert witnesses sets us apart from other insurance law firms.

Submit a free case review