Different insurance policies identify different events which trigger coverage. Two types of common insurance policies are "claims made" policies and "occurrence" policies.

Under a "claims made" policy, coverage is triggered when, during the policy period, an insured becomes aware of and notifies the insurer of either claims against the insured or situations that might give rise to such a claim. The notice of a potential claim is what invokes coverage in a "claims made" policy. "Claims made policies are often a more economical way to provide coverage for risks like professional responsibility, because the notice requirements allow an insurer to ‘close its books’ on a policy at the expiration date and thus ‘attain a level of predictability unattainable under standard occurrence policies.’ " State ex rel. Crawford v. Indemnity Underwriters Ins. Co., 1997 OK CIV APP 39, ¶ 4, 943 P.2d 1099.

In contrast, under "occurrence" policies coverage is triggered if the insurable event occurred during the policy term. Unlike "claims made" policies, "occurrence" policies allow for notice to be made to the insurer after the term of the insurance contract so long as the insurable event occurred during the policy term.

The proper analysis of an insurance policy or contract to assess coverage as "claims made" or "occurrence" is best approached with an attorney qualified to review the coverages. Familiarity with Oklahoma law is essential to an opinion as to insurance coverage.