Judge Considers “Named Storm” Definition in Insurance Policy Endorsement

In AFP 104 Corp. v. Columbia Cas. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 24215 (D.N.J. Feb. 26, 2014), the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey recently considered the effect of a “named storm” endorsement on an insured’s policy deductible. For damages caused by a named storm, the policy denied recovery for any claims under $1 million. The policy stated that a named storm ends when “the National Weather Service officially declares the named tropical storm or hurricane permanently downgraded to a tropical depression”. Instead of taking judicial notice of the status of the storm from the National Weather Service, the Court denied the insurer’s motion to dismiss, reasoning that, by alleging that Hurricane Sandy was classified as a post-tropical storm when the damage occurred, the Plaintiffs could show that the application of the named storm endorsement was improper.