The First Department determined there was a question of fact about the meaning of an exclusion in a flood insurance policy. The policy excluded coverage for property in (FEMA) Flood Zone A. The plaintiff’s property was located in (FEMA) Flood Zone AE:
When it comes to exclusions from coverage, the exclusion “must be specific and clear in order to be enforced” … and ambiguities in exclusions are to be construed “most strongly” against the insurer … . As this Court has recognized, there are circumstances where extrinsic evidence may be admitted prior to an exclusion being strictly construed against an insurer … , and “[w]here  ambiguous words are to be construed in the light of extrinsic evidence or the surrounding circumstances, the meaning of such words may become a question of fact for the jury” … .
Here, the language of FEMA’s flood zone regulations raises an issue of fact rendering the insurance policy’s exclusion of flood coverage ambiguous … . Heartland Brewery, Inc. v Nova Cas. Co., 2017 NY Slip Op 02908, 1st Dept 4-13-17
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