United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
SAMUEL J. FURROW and ANN FURROW, Plaintiffs,
WRIGHT NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE COMPANY and UNDERWRITERS AT LLOYD'S LONDON, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
B. Saris Chief United States District Judge
Samuel and Ann Furrow bring this suit seeking excess flood
insurance coverage for the loss of their vacation home after
a storm in March of 2013 in the Town of Nantucket,
Massachusetts. Plaintiffs allege the loss qualifies as a
“flood” under the “erosion” prong of
their Standard Flood Insurance Policy (“SFIP”).
Defendant Underwriters at Lloyd's London
(“Lloyd's”), the excess insurer, asserts that
the loss was not covered because the cause of the loss was
gradual erosion of a sandy bluff overlooking the Atlantic
Ocean, which was a specifically excluded cause of loss under
parties moved for summary judgment. After hearing,
Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 61)
and Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No.
58) are DENIED.
facts below are taken from the record, and are undisputed
except where stated.
Samuel and Ann Furrow purchased their summer home in
Nantucket in July 2003. The home is located at 87 Baxter Road
atop a 75-foot bluff on the easternmost portion of the island
of Nantucket. When the home was purchased in 2003, the home
was over 50 feet away from the bluff.
erosion rates at the bluff, Plaintiffs knew it might become
necessary to move their house away from the bluff at some
point in the future. By 2007, the bluff had moved to within
20 feet of the home, so Plaintiffs moved the house closer to
the road and away from the bluff. After the move, the home
was about 60 feet away from the bluff.
purchased insurance for their home. In addition to standard
home insurance, Plaintiffs also purchased primary and excess
flood insurance. For the policy period from February 12, 2013
to February 12, 2014, Plaintiffs had two flood insurance
policies - a primary policy issued by Wright National Flood
Insurance Company with limits of $250, 000; and an excess
policy with additional limits of $1, 450, 000 sold by
Lloyd's. The scope of the coverage under the excess flood
policy is governed by the SFIP, issued pursuant to the
National Flood Insurance Program Act (“NFIP”), 42
U.S.C. § 4001 et seq. The SFIP provides for the
following coverage: “We will pay you for direct
physical loss or damage by or from flood to your insured
property.” The SFIP defines “flood”:
A. . . . Flood, as used in this flood insurance policy,
1. A general and temporary condition of partial or complete
inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or
of two or more properties (at least one of which is your
a. Overflow of inland or tidal waters;
b. Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters
from any source;
2. Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake
or similar body of water as a result of erosion or
undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding
anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined
in A.1.a. above.
Flood Insurance Policy section II.A..
causes of damage are explicitly ...