Georgia appellate court: no continuous trigger when policy responds to occurrences, not property damage, during the period
September 12, 2016

A Georgia appellate court has ruled that there is no continuous trigger of coverage for an environmental claim when the subject policy responds to occurrences, not property damage, during the policy period. The insured sought coverage from the insurer for costs arising from a 1976 turbine fuel leak. The lower court allocated all of the insured’s losses to the policy period at the time of the leak as opposed to allocating the losses pro rata to all of the policy periods in place during the thirty years from the time of the leak to the time when the contamination was discovered. The insurer, with a policy running during most of 1976, contended that there was new contamination continuously throughout the thirty-year period because of its migration. The insurer further argued that when the costs are allocated evenly across the years, the attachment point of its policy is not reached. The appellate court affirmed the lower court decision, finding that the specific language of the policy indicates it takes effect if there is an occurrence, as opposed to “injury or destruction,” during the period and because the 1976 fuel leak was the occurrence, the subject policy is triggered and must respond. Columbia Cas. Co. v. Plantation Pipe Line Co., 2016 WL 4548664 (Ga. App. 8/31/16)


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