Insurable Interests Defined: A Blog Series - Episode Four, California

In this week’s episode of my continuing blog series, we travel to California to see how the Golden State defines Insurable Interests. Spoiler Alert: You need to read the policy!

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Office of Public Insurance Counsel Weighs in Against Proposed Mandatory Arbitration Endorsement

Alex Winslow of Texas Watch passed along to me that the Office of Public Insurance Counsel (OPIC) has weighed in against the mandatory arbitration endorsement proposed by Texas Farm Bureau and now (semi-secretly) before the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) for approval. OPIC is the state office tasked with representing policyholders in rate and form filing decisions. I have linked a copy of their very strong letter addressed to David Maddox, the Commissioner of Insurance for the State of Texas. OPIC agreed with the letter sent to Maddox last week by Texas Watch, which I linked to an earlier blog, but OPIC made some other very good points, which I highlight here.

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Matching Damaged Property of Residential Losses

Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman was commissioned by United Policyholders to write a report on the issue of "matching" following property losses to residential structures. He summarized the issue of matching as following:

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Hail Storms, Wear and Tear, and Inadequate Maintenance

Hailstorms are wreaking havoc as noted in Brandee Bower's post yesterday, Greetings From Hail Alley. After contacting their insurance companies, some policyholders unfortunately find their insurance companies deny the claims based on exclusions in the insurance contract involving wear and tear as well as inadequate maintenance.

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Greetings from Hail Alley!

On May 10, 2016 there was a severe thunderstorm near Colorado Springs, Colorado. The below photograph depicts hail streaks (hail falling to the ground) and is a stunning image that captures the destructive nature of these storms.1

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Commercial Marine Insurance and Depreciation on Engines

When Hurricanes hit, residential and commercial property are commonly considered when you think of the insurance losses. But in coastal states hurricanes can also have a devastating impact on commercial and recreational marine losses.

As with residential and commercial property, you need to be sure you review and understand your boat’s insurance policy. It is likely that a boat owner or captain has taken special consideration with a Hurricane or Tropical Storm because part of the application requires a written plan for the boat when a Hurricane comes to town.
 

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United Policyholders Weighs In on Mandatory Arbitration Shenanigans at Texas Department of Insurance

Amy Bach, Executive Director of United Policyholders (“UP”), has shared with me the letter she sent to David Mattox (Texas Commissioner of Insurance) on the issue of mandatory arbitration provisions in homeowner policies. Here is a link to that letter for you to read.

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The Impact "Cyber Attacks" Are Having on the Insurance Industry and What it Means for Insureds

I am sure you have all heard or read about some large scale “cyber attacks” over the past several years. Whether it be the attack on Target where numerous individuals’ personal data was “hacked” several years ago, or the more recent attacks on health insurers such as Primera Blue Cross and Anthem, in each situation hackers gained access to a business’ computer network and may have obtained consumers’ names, dates of birth, Social Security numbers, mailing and email addresses, phone numbers and/or bank account information. Although the news generally reports on the large scale cyber attacks, the threat of cyber attacks is something that small businesses face as well. In essence, any business that stores consumer or client data can face the potential of being “hacked.”

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Setting Aside an Appraisal Award in Pennsylvania, Part 1

I was recently approached by policyholders that had suffered a rather severe water loss to their property. They wisely retained a public adjuster who submitted their claim to the insurance carrier. When it became clear that the insurance carrier was not interested in properly adjusting the claim, the policyholders decided to submit the claim to appraisal. The parties chose their appraisers and ultimately an appraisal award was entered that was not favorable to the insured. The award was not sufficient to repair the damages to the property and the policyholders wanted to file suit against the insurance carrier to recover funds sufficient to make the repairs to the property.

This begs the question, under what circumstances will the Pennsylvania courts set aside an appraisal award?

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Insurance Industry Pulling End Around on Texas Policyholders: Carrier Asking TDI to Approve Pre-Dispute Arbitration Clause in Policy Form

I am using this blog to get the word our to all persons in Texas who care about working Texans and Texas businesses who pay insurance premiums every day. Please read below from Alex Winslow of Texas Watch and please go on the Texas Watch website and oppose this type of policy. I emailed Alex and asked for a copy of the proposed policy, but guess what? Nobody except TDI has a copy, and TDI won’t share it based on some goofy theory of proprietary protection to the anonymous insurance company, who submitted it for approval. And Winslow thinks TDI will have a decision within the next few weeks. Therefore, TDI will decide on a new policy form that will completely change to rights of Texas policyholders (to their detriment) (a) without the public knowing which carrier submitted it, (b) without the public having an opportunity to see the policy form before it is approved, and (c) without the public having an opportunity to comment at hearing or otherwise before the form is approved.

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Professional Liability Claims Against Insurance Brokers Are Assignable in California

The law has been clear in California for quite a while that if you suffer property damage not covered under your insurance policy as a direct result of your insurance broker’s neglect you can pursue a claim against your broker for professional negligence. However, until recently what was not so clear was what your options were where you suffer property damage not covered under your insurance policy as a direct result of your insurance broker’s negligence and your property damage caused damage to a neighbor’s property.

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Ten Tips: How To Make Your Claim Easy to Pay

Note: This guest blog is by Curtis Hutchens, an AV Martindale Hubell preeminent lawyer, a Florida Supreme Court Certified Civil and County Court mediator, a qualified arbitrator and a Windstorm Insurance Network (WIND) Umpire and Fellow and serves as President of WIND. He also serves the legal community as a Florida Bar Grievance and Fee Dispute Mediator and Arbitrator. He has earned the insurance industry designation of Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) and serves as VP of his local CPCU society.

Follow these ten tips to get your property/home damage claim paid faster and in full. Your insurance carrier receives hundreds of claims, many of which are similar to yours. As the claims come in, the insurance company triages each claim and categorizes them as easy to pay, deny, investigate, or litigate. Most companies would challenge this characterization of their triage process as overly simplistic. Insurance carriers insist that they handle each claim individually based on the policy language, the facts of the loss and the law that applies. Regardless, your job is get your claim into the “easy to pay” category as soon as possible. You cannot eliminate the need of the company to investigate or adjust the claim, but by following these ten tips, your claim will be paid fully in the shortest time possible.

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Business Income Loss Policy's Contrary Provisions Result in Coverage for Payroll

Farm stand fresh vegetables and sweet and savory baked goods can make any day better. Verrill Farms had been in the produce and bakery industry in Concord, Massachusetts, for decades but before you could buy deli sandwiches or take home fresh heirloom tomatoes, Verrill Farms was a daily farm started in 1918.

The farm was passed down for generations and as the years passed the business grew. However, “[o]n September 20, 2008, Verrill Farms suffered a fire loss to its farm store. Within two days of the fire, Verrill Farms reopened its business at alternate locations at reduced capacity. Within another month, the business had resumed nearly full capacity in temporary facilities at nearby locations. After the fire and during the process of restarting the business at the alternate locations, no employees were laid off. All employees who remained on the payroll were involved in operations that allowed Verrill Farms to maintain its business and generate income.”

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Insurable Interests Defined: A Blog Series - Episode Three, Arizona

Papago State Park

A few weeks ago I traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona for a deposition. After the deposition concluded, I had a little bit of time before my flight home, so I stopped by Papago State Park in Phoenix to take in some of Arizona’s beauty and to take a few photographs (including the one above). This week in my series on insurable interests, we travel to the Copper State (aka the Grand Canyon State) to take a look at how insurable interests are defined.

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Don't Get Caught In the Middle of a Battle Between Insurers Over "Other Insurance" Clauses

Some of you may have encountered situations where your clients have more than one insurance policy covering the same risk. This is especially true in the commercial context where businesses not only purchase their own insurance policies, but also request to be named as additional insureds on insurance policies issued to tenants or business partners. At first blush, you might not think this could create a problem because isn't having two insurance policies better than having just one? Well. . .we all know that common sense doesn’t always apply in the insurance industry (even though it should). The problem in this context is how insurers try to enforce a clause found in many insurance policies called the “other insurance” clause or provision.

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