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What is a Sunrise Provision? Definition, Application, and Considerations

Last updated 04/17/2024 by

Abi Bus

Edited by

Fact checked by

A sunrise provision, also known as a sunrise clause, extends coverage to events that occurred before the contract was signed, primarily used in insurance and reinsurance contracts. It protects the insured by allowing coverage for losses reported during the policy term but stemming from events before the policy’s effective date. While rare, it contrasts with sunset provisions, which set strict time limits on insurer liability.

What is a sunrise provision?

A sunrise provision, often referred to as a sunrise clause, is a contractual term commonly found in insurance and reinsurance agreements. This provision extends coverage to events or losses that occurred before the contract’s effective date.

How does a sunrise provision work?

In insurance and reinsurance contracts, a sunrise provision serves to protect the policyholder from specific risks during a predetermined period. The effective date of the policy is crucial, as it delineates the period during which the insurer assumes risk and the insured is covered against losses. Notably, losses may manifest long after the policy’s expiration, necessitating the inclusion of a sunrise provision to safeguard against delayed developments.

Example of a sunrise clause

Consider an auto insurance policy where coverage is provided for vehicular accidents. While identifying losses from immediate events like car accidents is straightforward due to visible property damage, other risks such as negligence or malpractice may surface gradually over time. For instance, a patient might experience complications from surgery years after the procedure. In such cases, a sunrise provision ensures that the insured remains protected even if losses become apparent after the policy lapses.

Sunrise provision vs. sunset provision

Sunrise provisions enable policyholders to retain coverage for losses reported during the policy term but stemming from events predating the contract’s effective date. Conversely, sunset provisions, which are becoming more prevalent, impose strict time limits on the insurer’s liability. Insurers prefer sunset provisions as they delineate clear boundaries on claims eligibility, unlike sunrise provisions.
Here is a list of the benefits and the drawbacks to consider.
  • Provides coverage for losses occurring before the policy’s effective date
  • Protects insured from delayed manifestations of loss
  • Rarely used due to preference for sunset provisions
  • Does not impose strict time limits on insurer liability

Frequently asked questions

What are the benefits of including a sunrise provision in a contract?

Sunrise provisions offer policyholders the advantage of retaining coverage for losses that occurred before the policy’s effective date. This can be particularly beneficial in cases where losses manifest over time, ensuring ongoing protection for the insured.

Are sunrise provisions commonly used in all types of insurance policies?

While sunrise provisions are primarily associated with insurance and reinsurance contracts, they may not be prevalent in all types of insurance policies. Their inclusion often depends on the specific risks covered and the preferences of insurers.

How do insurers determine the duration of coverage provided by a sunrise provision?

The duration of coverage under a sunrise provision is typically outlined within the contract terms. Insurers consider various factors, such as the nature of the risks involved and industry standards, when determining the length of coverage for events predating the policy’s effective date.

Can policyholders request the inclusion of a sunrise provision in their insurance contracts?

Policyholders may request the inclusion of a sunrise provision in their contracts, particularly if they anticipate the possibility of losses occurring before the policy’s effective date. However, the final decision rests with the insurer, who assesses the associated risks and terms of coverage.

Are there any limitations or exclusions associated with sunrise provisions?

While sunrise provisions offer valuable coverage benefits, they may have limitations or exclusions specified within the contract. Policyholders should review the terms carefully to understand any restrictions on coverage, such as specific types of losses or events not covered by the provision.

Key takeaways

  • Sunrise provisions extend coverage to losses occurring before the policy’s effective date.
  • They protect insured parties from delayed manifestations of loss.
  • Insurers prefer sunset provisions due to their imposition of strict time limits on liability.

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