Time of Occurrence
The time of occurrence is when an event takes place. In the case of your business and someone being injured on your property, the time of occurrence is when an accident occurs that is allegedly due to the negligence of your business. Whether or not your business was negligent is something that has to be proven.
As for how the time of occurrence comes into play, it is rather simple. Your general liability insurance company will pay for damages if you are held liable for an accident that occurred during the policy period, so long as the policy has no gaps in coverage. If the accident happened outside of the policy period, then the general liability insurance company does not pay those damages. They are not able to legally because you were not insured with them at the time of the accident.
There is one scenario that a number of business encounter and that scenario is when they have switched from one general liability insurance policy to another.
If an accident occurred while your business was covered under one general liability insurance policy, but the claim is not filed against your business until you have obtained coverage with another company, this could be confusing.
How this works is that the policy that was in force at the time of the occurrence is the one that pays. Even if the claim is made years after the event occurred, that company is the one who pays. They were who you were paying your premiums to at the time of the occurrence, so they are the ones that the claim has to go to.
Here is an example: In 2006, a male customer walked into your store on a rainy day. The floor was wet and an employee had not yet placed a wet floor sign in the area to warn customers that the floor was wet. The gentleman suddenly slipped, fell, and he severely hurt his back.
The gentleman filed an accident report with you, but then you didn't hear anything from him at all or from anyone else regarding his situation. As a result, you forgot about it. In the meantime, he had undergone a lot of physical therapy on his back and incurred a large number of medical expenses as a result.
A few years later, he decides it is time to file a claim. When he files this claim depends on the statute of limitations within the state in regards to personal injury. However, the business is insured by a different company. Because of this, the business must make sure the claim is filed with the company they were insured with at the time the event occurred.
There must be proof when an accident occurs. The longer a person waits to file their claim, the harder it is for them to produce proof.
It is important to make sure there are no lapses in the policy. When ending one to start with another company, the old should be ended right when the new is started. That way you are covered in case an accident occurs between policies. The last thing anyone wants is for there to be an accident during the short period of time that occurs between the ending of one policy and the beginning of another. That is why you don't want to stop until you start.
So now you know what is meant by "time of occurrence" and why it is important to you as a business. Individuals who allege injury do have the right to file a claim when they want to as long as they are within the confines of the law.