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Soil movement exclusion catches soil expansion

Guastalegname, Nunzia v Australian Associated Motor Insurers Ltd [2017] VCS 420

The Victorian Supreme Court recently considered whether an insurer could rely on a policy exclusion with respect to soil movement to deny indemnity for a claim for loss or damage to an insured property. In assessing whether the exclusion applied, the Court considered whether ‘heave’ falls within the natural and ordinary meaning of ‘soil movement’. The Court held that in interpreting words used in an agreement, a common sense approach will be applied, looking at the policy as a whole, and considering the natural and ordinary meaning of the words used.

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