Do Not Gamble on Being Ignorant About Depreciation of Labor--The MERLIN Las Vegas Public Adjuster Conference Will Make You a Winner!

Some insurance companies seem to be in a race to the bottom by searching and questioning every possible way to pay their customers less following a loss. Taking depreciation on labor charges is a fairly new method for these companies. If you are a public adjuster and want to know all the arguments against this practice, you should be in Las Vegas with me next week.

Continue Reading...
Tags:

Why Focusing Recovery Efforts on RCV Only Can Prove Disastrous for Insureds Who Fail to Make a Demand and Present Evidence of ACV

My colleague Ed Eshoo recently wrote a blog addressing how Illinois courts follow the Prevention Doctrine (if an insurer prevents or hinders an insured from complying with the condition to repair/replace the property before being entitled to full replacement cost, then the insured’s failure to repair/replace won’t necessarily bar a recovery of full replacement costs at the time of trial) (See Illinois Courts Follow the "Prevention of Performance" Doctrine).

Ed’s article reminded me of a case in California that addresses the same issue, but from a different angle: What happens when an insurer prevents or hinders an insured from complying with the repair/replace condition in an insurance policy and the insured does not make a demand for Actual Cash Value (“ACV”) or present evidence of an ACV estimate at any time? Under these circumstances, will the insured be entitled to recover both ACV (money to be used as “seed” money to fund the repairs) and full replacement cost coverage (“RCV”) after the repairs are completed?

Continue Reading...

Who pays the deductible? Requirements of roofing contracts in Colorado

For those of us that practice in the area of property damage in Colorado, June 6, 2012, is a day with much notoriety. A large wind and hail storm passed through the state, causing extraordinary damage. Even though it was classified as a catastrophic event, many insurers still challenged damages, so I represented a high volume of clients from this storm. However, this was not the only thing that happened on this date in Colorado. Governor Hickenlooper also signed into effect Senate Bill 12-038, “Concerning Measures to Protect Consumers who Engage a Roofing Contractor to Perform Roofing Services on Residential Property.” The full act is available online, but I wanted to draw your attention to certain parts of it as they have been topics of many recent phone calls.

Continue Reading...

Impossibility of Performance Does Not Excuse an Insurer from Appraisal

The appraisal process is to provide a plain, speedy, inexpensive and just determination to an insurance dispute. However, as many first party property lawyers and homeowners have experienced, appraisal is not necessarily speedy, inexpensive or just. In fact, many times the insurer will refuse to participate in the appraisal process requiring the insured to bring a lawsuit to force the insured to participate.

Continue Reading...

High Ho High Ho Do I Have To Do An EUO?

I suppose a lot of professions are cyclical. In my 25 years if practice I have sometimes found that I will go years without getting certain types of cases and then I will get two or three all at once. Lately, I have been asked to look at cases where the carrier is claiming that the policyholder breached post-loss duties under the policy (other than prompt notice). The argument is that the policyholder has failed to cooperate with the carrier’s investigation of the claim.1 Mainly the policyholders are accused of not submitting to an examination under oath (EUO).

Continue Reading...

Public Adjusters Licensed in Alabama: Not this Year

In April I advised that Representative Jimmy Martin introduced Alabama House Bill 181 on February 11, 2016, for the regulation of public adjusters in Alabama.

Continue Reading...

Illinois Courts Follow the "Prevention of Performance" Doctrine

Homeowner and commercial property insurance policies typically limit an insured’s recovery to actual cash value1 benefits unless and until the damaged or destroyed property is repaired or replaced. This limitation becomes an issue if coverage is declined and the insurer fails to pay actual cash value benefits as “seed money” to start the repair/replacement process. Under that scenario, can an insured still recover replacement cost benefits if it proves at trial the insurer’s action in denying coverage and in failing to pay the actual cash value of the loss prevented or hindered it from fulfilling the repair/replacement condition?

Continue Reading...

Insurance Company Representative Says Merlin Law Group Las Vegas Seminar Worth $10,000

Why should I go to Chip Merlin’s Las Vegas public adjuster seminar in August? A number of public adjusters understandably have asked this question, but an insurance company adjuster who publicly criticized me has placed the value of my advice at $10,000!! If you are a public adjuster, do not miss this valuable seminar; sign up while seats last at the bargain price of a $100 donation to United Policyholders.

Continue Reading...
Tags:

Alabama Bad Faith: Part 2

As I discussed in Alabama Bad Faith: Part 1, Alabama distinguishes between bad faith refusal and bad faith delay cases.

Continue Reading...

Alabama Bad Faith: Part 1

I was recently approached by a policyholder inquiring whether he had a viable claim for bad faith under Alabama law. In responding to his inquiry I did quite a bit of research and will share my findings with you now in this two-part blog on Alabama Bad Faith.

Continue Reading...

Yacht or Boat Insurance: Check the Vessel's Theft Coverage

Many insureds feel that by paying a high premium and having a good relationship with their insurance broker, they should have good insurance or better than average coverage. Relationships and continued service creates a bond and trust between broker and buyer.

However, it is still critical that the insured review and read the insurance policy. Reading insurance policies isn’t thrilling like a chapter out of a David Baldacci novel, but you can ask your broker better questions and give specific instructions in a knowledgeable manner when you fully understand your current coverage.

Continue Reading...

Are You For Real? - Suing The Adjuster In Texas and Making it Stick

We all know that insurance adjusters are “persons in the business of insurance” under the Texas Insurance Code. Many times insurance adjusters are sued along with the insurance company in a policyholder’s lawsuit. Because the insurance adjuster tends to be a resident of the state where the lawsuit it filed, having the adjuster as a defendant in the lawsuit will destroy diversity of citizenship jurisdiction and prevent the carrier from removing the case to federal court (or more aptly allow for remand back to state court).

Continue Reading...

The "Powerless" Sitcom: A Show about Insurance Adjusting with a DC Comic Emphasis

Powewrless

NBC announced that it will launch a new sitcom about insurance. A primetime show about insurance could be everything but thrilling, however to get ratings, the network was smart. It cast Vanessa Hudgens, a likeable actress with a list of strong successes in her short career, and added a new element. The show that will tell the stories of the regular folks living in the land comic superheroes who are tasked with the cleanup after the superheroes avert a series of world-ending crisis. The name Powerless comes from the fact that Hudgens and her colleagues are regular people who do not have the superpowers of Captain America or Wonder Woman, and is labeled as a workplace comedy.

Continue Reading...

Insureds that Prematurely Initiate Repairs Without the Approval of the Insurer May Do So At Their Own Peril

In Paslay v. State Farm General Insurance Company,1 the California Court of Appeal addressed an issue insureds and public adjusters regularly face: How quickly should you address, remediate, and repair damaged property to comply with your obligation to “mitigate” the damages to the property, without “prejudicing” the insurers investigation?

Continue Reading...

Fighting for Insurers' Claims Manuals, Guidelines and Procedures

As a policyholder lawyer, much of my practice over the past 10 years has been in Illinois and the Midwest. Accordingly, I would like to give an introduction into Illinois “bad faith.” I put that term in quotations because Illinois does not have a traditional “bad faith” law. Rather, Illinois law provides an extracontractual remedy to policyholders when an insurer’s action in handling a claim is vexatious and unreasonable. 215 ILCS 5/155 (West 2010). This extracontractual remedy, commonly referred to as “Section 155,” provides for the recovery of taxable costs, reasonable attorneys’ fees, other costs, plus an amount not to exceed one of the following:

  1. 60% of the amount which the court or jury finds such party is entitled to recover against the insurance company, exclusive of costs;
  2. $60,000;
  3. the excess of the amount which the court or jury finds such a party is entitled to recover, exclusive of costs, over the amount, if any, which the company offered to pay in settlement of the claim prior to the action.
Continue Reading...