In AKC, Inc. v. United Specialty Insurance Co., 2021-Ohio-3540, ___N.E.3d ___, 2021 WL 4557194 (Ohio 10/6/21), the insured argued that a standard policy exclusion for sewer back-ups and overflows was ambiguous because the exclusion did not contain the specific word “sewerage.” The trial court rejected this argument. However, the Ohio Court of Appeals reversed, finding the water back-up exclusion ambiguous. The Ohio Supreme Court reversed, again, and he court found that the rule of strict exclusionary construction did not permit courts to ignore the obvious intent of a particular exclusion. The court found that the obvious intent of the exclusion was to bar coverage for damages caused directly or indirectly by water that backed up or overflowed from a sewer. Thus, the exclusion applied to damage caused by sewerage, even though the word “sewerage” was not used in the exclusion.
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