On March, 14 2024, the Washington Supreme Court held, in Gardens Condo. v. Farmers Ins. Exch., 2024 Wash. LEXIS 165 (2024), that a resulting loss exception to a faulty workmanship exclusion preserved coverage under the insured’s all-risk policy because the workmanship resulted in a covered loss.

In that case, the insured had discovered water damage to the roof of its 26-unit condominium building, caused by insufficient interior vents and design issues preventing needed ventilation. The insured had the roof assembly redesigned and repaired in attempts to increase ventilation and eliminate condensation. However, the improvements still did not provide sufficient ventilation causing the accumulation of water vapor and condensation in the space between the roof surface and ceiling. The insured sought coverage for this loss, and the insurer denied coverage under the policy’s faulty workmanship exclusion, which contained a resulting loss exception and which the Court interpreted to mean, “if faulty workmanship causes a covered peril to occur and that covered peril results in loss or damage, the loss or damage will be covered.”

Relying on the holdings in Vision One LLC v. Philadelphia Indemnity Insurance Co., 174 Wn.2d 501, 276 P.3d 300 (2012), and Sprague v. Safeco Insurance Co. of America, 174 Wn.2d 524, 276 P.3d 1270 (2012), both involving faulty workmanship exclusions and resulting loss exceptions, the court held that the resulting loss exception preserved coverage because, although faulty workmanship existed, the faulty workmanship resulted in a covered loss caused by water vapor and condensation. If the insurer had desired, it could have drafted the policy differently by omitting the resulting loss exception entirely or, if included, by limiting the exception to “ensure that the entire causal chain resulting from an excluded peril would [have been] excluded.”

The Court affirmed the ruling in favor of the insured.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Soha and Lang, P.S. or its clients.