What is a manifestation trigger?
In the insurance sectorthe term “event trigger” refers to the moment when the policyholder becomes aware of a reason for filing a claim. For example, in the case of home insurance, the trigger for the manifestation may be when the policyholder discovers that their property has been damaged.
Often the trigger for the event will be after the date the event occurred, as it may take time for policyholders to discover the cause of the damage.
Key points to remember
- The outbreak trigger is the date a policyholder discovers damage giving rise to an insurance claim.
- It is one of many types of dates used in the insurance industry.
- These conditions may become necessary when policyholders and insurers disagree on the responsibility to honor certain claims.
How Manifestation Triggers Work
Although it may seem like a simple concept, determining the exact date on which a covered event occurred can be complicated. For example, a homeowner might discover that their property was infested with mold only after returning from vacation. In this case, the trigger for the outbreak would be the date they discovered the mold, even if the mold started to build up days or even weeks before.
These nuances are important to insurance companies because they can determine whether they are responsible for covering the policyholder’s claim. Depending on the nature of Politics, an insurer’s liability may not apply if the trigger for the event occurred after the end of the period of cover. On the other hand, an insured who discovers such an event after their insurance has expired might be able to argue that the insurer is still liable. In this case, they would have to demonstrate that the problem actually developed while they were still insured.
To make it easier to navigate these types of arguments, the insurance industry uses specialized terms such as “manifestation trigger” to refer to some of the different types of dates and findings that could arise. A exposure triggerfor example, is the date on which an insured was first exposed to harm, while a de facto injury trigger is the date on which the injury or illness became known. Continuous triggers, on the other hand, are ranges of time that apply as damage gradually accumulates.
This type of language can become particularly complicated in situations where the policyholder has changed policies several times during the relevant period. In these situations, it can become very difficult to determine precisely who is responsible for honoring the various claims.
Concrete example of a manifestation trigger
To illustrate, consider the case of Don’s Building Supply, a Texas company wholesaler of exterior insulation and finish systems that were installed on various homes built between late 1993 and late 1996. While the homes were being built, Don’s was insured under three consecutive general liability policies issued by OneBeacon. Between 2003 and 2005, various homeowners sued Don’s, alleging that the insulation was faulty and had allowed moisture to seep inside the homes, leading to rot and other damage.
The owners claimed that the damage began to occur six months to a year after installation, while the insurance policies were in effect. However, the damage was concealed and only became apparent after the end of the insurance period. Ultimately, this debate was not settled until it reached the Texas Supreme Court. The question, as paraphrased by the Supreme Court, was whether “an insurer’s obligation to defend [is] triggered when damage is alleged to have occurred during the insurance period, but was inherently untraceable only after the expiry of the insurance period? »
Ultimately, the Court answered “yes” to this question, ruling that the key date that triggered the coverage was when the injury occurred, not when the owner discovered it.In other words, the trigger for the protest turned out to be the defining moment in this case.