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Chapter 9 is term CASUALTY misused question mark
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<Scott Cullen>
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This chapter treats insurance claims, tax deductions and civil actions together. It uses the term CASUALTY generically to describe all losses. This usage has been inheirited from earlier editions and the general tree appraisal literature.

The term properly applies in an IRS context. For IRS purposes, "...a casualty is the damage, destruction or loss of property resulting from an identifiable event that is sudden, unexpected or unusual" (1998 IRS Publication 547, Casualties, Disasters and Thefts; Business and Non-business.
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But do we know that it may not be properly used in an insurance context? If you check insurance terminology you'll find that coverage for damages to property (such as plants and hardscape) owned by the insured party is generally categorized as Property Insurance. Coverage for damages to someone else's property is known as Property Damage Liability Insurance. CASUALTY Insurance, by contrast, generally provides coverage for personal injury (although coverage for very specific types of property such as boilers or plate glass is sometimes provided under casualty policies).

General or casual usage of CASUALTY often does refer to both property damage and personal injury, but this usage may be inaccurate in an insurance context.
 
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<Russ Carlson>
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Reply to post by Scott Cullen, on May 23, 2000 at 07:33:30:

In the context of IRS usage, the term Casualty is applied to catastrophic or disastrous loss of property. This is consistent with the Webster definition:

Casualty- 1Frownarchaic) chance, fortune. 2:serious or fatal accident: Disaster. 3 a: a military person lost though death, wounds, injury, sickness. . . or through being missing in action. b: a person or thing injured, lost, or destroyed: Victim.

This last definition (3b) would seem to be the usage selected by IRS, and as such applies to the losses of property, including trees. Although the Insurance industry may have specific terms that it applies to these cases, I don't see a problem in using the term Casualty in the Guide to cover the broad range of damage to trees, landscape and environment. The second definition also indicates the same type of situation, as a disaster- a sudden, unexpected or unpredictable event.
 
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<Scott Cullen>
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Reply to post by Russ Carlson, on May 23, 2000 at 07:33:30:

I don't think common usage is a big deal UNLESS we charaterize a common usage as if it is techically applicable and correct.

Yes, the IRS definition from the Code and Pub.547 happens to match one of the Webster definitions. But it's the IRS definition that's binding.

In an insurance context the common usage does not accurately describe the typically applicable policy types and coverages.

When we go into technical areas we do not have the freedom to select among common dictionary usages because it's easy for us. If specific meanings and usages apply they should be used.

We get all exercised about proper Latin binomial nomenclature, and whether that chunk of tree is a "branch" or a "limb," and that "palm" over there is not a "tree" and its trunk is not wood its "palm tissue." We should be no less rigorous if we place ourselves in other technical disciplines.
 
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