In Arizona, the owner of a condo sued the association and the management company for failing to clean up after the birds that defecated on her property.  The liability insurance for the association and/or the management firm denied coverage, and filed a suit in federal court, probably seeking a declaratory judgment.

If this controversy had been over a simple homeowner’s policy the insurer (American Family Mutual) probably would have denied on the grounds that property damage resulting from a policyholder’s failure to maintain is not covered,  just as wear and tear are not covered.

But this was a liability policy, so exactly the same exclusion would not exist. Then again, it is not “professional liability” insurance.  But one would think that property damage caused by the negligent performance of real estate managerial duties might be covered. One would think that the omissions of the insured did constitute part of the cause of the property loss. (It is well established that pigeon droppings on roofs damage the roofs. Then again that takes time.)

One may be tempted to immediately infer that the insurer’s reasoning as to coverage is bullshit. Then again, the coverage decisions of insurers are frequently correct, and even if the insurer gets coverage wrong, their decisions are often rational (even though mistaken). But on the other hand, there are many forms of actionable insurer bad faith.

There is an urban problem with pigeons. See Jon Mooallem “Pigeon Wars” New York Times Magazine, October 15, 2006