Concurrent Causation

Updated: 29 February 2024

What Does Concurrent Causation Mean?

Concurrent causation occurs when an event results from multiple causes. In the case of insurance, losses and damages might have concurrent causes, which can make reimbursing the insured for their loss if one of the causes is an insured peril while another is not. It is common, however, to compensate the insured when one of the concurrent causes is insured.

Insuranceopedia Explains Concurrent Causation

Concurrent causes jointly result in an event, but they do not need to happen simultaneously. For instance, a person’s death may be caused an injury that is exacerbated by a preexisting condition. Both events are causes of the death, even though the preexisting condition predates the injury.

The principle of concurrent causation originates from court cases in California during the 1970s and 80s. These cases involved losses that were caused by excluded perils (floods, landslides) that, in turn, resulted from negligence by third parties. The rulings held that although the perils were excluded, the negligent acts must also be considered a cause of the events. Since the negligent acts were not excluded from the policies, the insurers had to cover these losses.

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