What Constitutes a "Residence Premises"

A standard term in a homeowners policy is “residence premises.” However, a dispute can arise regarding the interpretation of this term when an insured either moves and does not advise his insurance carrier or if the insured is not living at the property on the date of loss.

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Does Your Insurance Policy Have A Non-Cumulation Clause?

Today I was reading about a Summary Judgment Motion filed by Liberty Mutual in the case of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company v. The Fairbanks Company, in the Southern District of New York.1 The motion seeks to limit Fairbanks’ ability to recoup under their policy for asbestos claims spanning years. This limitation is based on language in the policy called a non-cumulation clause.

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When Does Business Personal Property Become Personal Property?

Although they typically insure personal property owned or used by insureds while it is anywhere in the world, most homeowner insurance policies contain a special limitation of liability for “business” personal property. For example, under the 2011 edition of the ISO Homeowners 3-Special Form, property on the residence premises used primarily for business purposes is limited to $2,500, while property off the residence premises used primarily for business purposes is limited to $500. The form defines “business” as

  1. a trade, profession or occupation engaged in on a full-time, part-time or occasional basis or
  2. any other activity engaged in for money or other compensation subject to certain exceptions.1
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Court Finds No Coverage for Water Damage Loss Where Property Had Been Vacant for Less than 1 Month

On June 9, 2016, The Washington Supreme Court held that an Essex Insurance Company property policy immediately cut off coverage for water damage after an insured property became vacant.1

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Insurance Coverage and the Risk of Purchasing a Vacant Building

Buildings that are vacant or unoccupied for extended periods of time present an increased risk of damage from theft and vandalism, especially in an urban setting such as Chicago. Recognizing this increased risk, most property insurance policies contain a vacancy provision which excludes coverage for losses resulting from vandalism, theft and other specified hazards if the building was vacant for more than 60 consecutive days before the loss. But what happens if the building was vacant when you purchased it? Does the prior owners’ vacancy count against the 60-day period?

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Agent Negligence and Property Insurance Policies

A subject of great importance is agent negligence in relation to insurance policies.

The 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season has Started and Experts Predict Worst Hurricane Season Since Superstorm Sandy

For those on the Northeast who had to face the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, it is too soon to imagine another Sandy, let alone anything worse than Sandy. However, the reality, experts say, is that “[e]ight hurricanes are predicted for this year’s hurricane season, perhaps the most since Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey in 2012.”1

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Insurable Interests Defined: A Blog Series - Episode Five, Illinois

We’ve been to the Northeast, the Southwest and now we are heading to the Midwest for this episode of my continuing blog series. This week we’re traveling to Illinois to see how the Prairie State defines insurable interests.

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So-called Discount in Exchange for Mandatory Arbitration Clause is a Farce: There is No Discount

Texas Watch received more documents from their Freedom of Information Act request, which included internal documents and notes from a March 30, 2016, secret meeting between the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), Texas Farm Bureau, and lobbyists for the insurance industry.

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Automatic Payment: Cancel...Reinstate...Repeat

Automatic payments have become a norm, including automatic payments for insurance premiums. But what happens when the automatic or scheduled payment amount is insufficient to cover an increased premium charge? That is the situation which occurred in Owners Insurance Company v. Sikanovski.1

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Crop Insurance Policies

There are two types of crop insurance policies. Multi-peril policies are similar to what most people purchase for their home or business and they insure against perils such as wind, hail, and fire. There are also hail specific policies which many farmers purchase since hail is so prevalent and doesn’t fall in a straight line, damaging some of the crop and leaving other areas unaffected.

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Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting Trends

Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting (UPPA) has become the predominant discussion among public adjusters at virtually every public adjuster association meeting I attend. Brian Goodman, general counsel for the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA), said that UPPA is now the most important issue facing public adjusters because licensing of the profession is accepted in almost every state and even recognized in Model Legislation with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

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A Special Father's Day as Diane Swerling Becomes NAPIA's President

Diane Swerling

Fathers love to see their children flourish and live a meaningful life. We all keep an extra eye out for our daughters. Every father watching Diane Swerling's induction as President of the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (NAPIA) was thinking of how fitting it was that it occurred over Father's Day Weekend.

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Policy Interpretation Matters for Coverage Application and Court Reminds Insurance Company that it Wrote the Policy

At a recent insurance conference, I heard a discussion in passing between industry folks about the trend of trying to kill the name “all-risk insurance policy.” The basic conversation was that we should stop using the all-risk language and use the form names more because the insinuation has been made that the policies labeled as all-risk get the reputation of being considered unlimited coverage and all-encompassing coverage that should apply regardless of the circumstances.

Now, for the record, we know that policies of insurance are written by insurance companies and when you read a policy, whether it is a named-peril or an all-risk policy, pages of text are devoted to making sure policyholders are prohibited from confusing an insurance policy with a warranty. It does not take a insurance guru to understand that policies of insurance are filled with exclusions and limitations. How those exclusions and limitations apply matters and the right consideration needs to be given when a policy has language that states: “coverage for damage of direct physical loss is covered unless excluded” or “coverage exists against all risks of physical loss unless otherwise excluded or limited” or something similar. Many blog posts have been devoted to showing just how much is excluded and limited in our insurance policies. The stripping away of coverage that was once found in homeowners and business owner policies has been done by those who write the insurance policies.

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Texas Floods - FEMA Extends Proof of Loss Deadline by Additional 60 Days

If you read this blog with any regularity, you know that the standard National Flood Insurance Policy requires that a Proof of Loss be submitted within 60 days of the date of loss. Without submitting the required Proof of Loss the claim—along with any hope of receiving additional funds under the flood policy—is forever lost. Many times when there is widespread flooding, FEMA acknowledges that getting help and producing a Proof of Loss within the allocated time frame becomes almost impossible and they extend the time frames to produce a Proof of Loss.

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