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Insurance Coverage: Applying the Concurrent Proximate Cause Rule to Losses Due to Excluded Acts

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Recorded event now available

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This CLE course will review the effect of the concurrent proximate cause rule in coverage litigation where the plaintiff asserts coverage for losses resulting from multiple alleged causes, some covered and some excluded. The program will discuss different standards and approaches taken by various courts in applying the rule and distinguish the efficient proximate cause rule. The program will also address the benefits and risks of attorney involvement in multiple-cause claim investigations and coverage decisions concerning the attorney-client privilege and work product.


The concurrent proximate cause rule states that coverage exists if any covered cause leads to a covered loss. That excluded causes contributed to the loss is not relevant.

But a claim that at first glance appears to be excluded may quickly pivot into a covered claim. After the insurer denies coverage for a loss that is ostensibly the result of an excluded cause, the injured party may file suit against the insured--or sometimes against a different insured--recasting the excluded cause as some form of negligence, for example, failure to provide adequate security, negligent supervision, or negligent training.

In deciding whether the concurrent proximate cause rule has been triggered, courts have labored to articulate a precise formulation for a test. Some analyze the relationship between the loss, the excluded cause, and the potentially covered cause differently. In some states, concurring causes must be independent and distinct from each other for the rule to apply. Others have focused on whether the covered cause is dependent on the excluded cause for success.

Listen as this experienced panel reviews how to defend against the concurrent proximate cause rule and the related issues of attorney involvement in claims investigation and coverage decisions.



  1. Introduction
  2. Key policy provisions
  3. Court application of the concurrent proximate cause rule
  4. Risks and benefits of attorney involvement in the claims assessment process


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • In what types of claims does concurrent proximate cause rule arise most often?
  • What are the consequences of denying a covered claim?
  • Can the insurer prove that a "covered" cause is a sham?


Goleaner, Kenneth
Kenneth Goleaner

Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard

Focusing his legal practice on insurance coverage and bad faith matters, Mr. Goleaner is experienced in all aspects of...  |  Read More

Smeltzer, Katrina
Katrina Smeltzer

Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard

Ms. Smeltzer is a business litigator, focusing her practice on representing professionals, assisting insurance...  |  Read More

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