Hurricane Harvey FEMA/SBA Disaster Assistance Deadline Extended to November 24, 2017

The deadline to apply for Hurricane Harvey FEMA/SBA disaster assistance is quickly approaching. The application filing deadline for physical damage as a result of Hurricane Harvey has been extended 30 days and is now November 24, 2017. FEMA can provide up to $33,000 in assistance to qualified applicants. Those homeowners and business owners who require more assistance, may be eligible for a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan, but must first apply for FEMA Disaster Assistance. Continue Reading

TWIA Is Acting with Wrongful Impunity Against Texans

Rene Sigman is co-chairing an important Hurricane Harvey seminar today discussing all the Hurricane Harvey issues. Yours truly is on a panel discussing how Hurricane Harvey differs from other hurricane litigation, but there is one similarity even worse. . .TWIA is again on the warpath against its own customers. Continue Reading

Hurricane Irma Closed Claim Statistics Questioned

The Florida Senate Banking and Insurance Committee held a public hearing last Tuesday. The video above is my very brief testimony at the hearing where I questioned the Hurricane Irma Closed Claim statistics provided by Florida’s Insurance Commissioner, David Altmaier. The Commissioner was a math teacher before joining the Office of Insurance Regulation. I have no idea what training he has had regarding what constitutes wrongful claims practices and he has never reached out to any policyholder consumer groups I am familiar with. Continue Reading

Hurricane Irma Policyholders Should File a Written Complaint About Slow, No or Low Paying Claims Insurance Adjusters

Amy Bach of United Policyholders and Paula Palozzi, Associate Director of the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, Insurance Division, held a seminar at the First Party Claims Conference and called on aggrieved policyholders to file written complaints with departments of insurance. Palozzi explained that when insurance companies pay too little, a written complaint about a low paying claims adjuster may allow a new set of eyes to set the matter straight and call attention to the possibility of a market conduct study if insurers are repetitively making the same claims handling mistake. Continue Reading

Assignment of Contingent or Unaccrued Benefits in Florida

As I and some of my colleagues have written about lately, in most states, after a covered loss has occurred, policyholders generally can assign the insurance benefits they’re entitled to receive in connection with that loss, despite language to the contrary in their policy. Following a devastating loss, such as the damage caused by the hurricanes that recently hit Texas and Florida, some policyholders are faced with the daunting task of rebuilding their homes, offices and other structures. Even if they’re fully insured for the cost of rebuilding their property, some policyholders may not want to or be able to. For some, the best—or only—choice may be to sell what’s left of their property. Continue Reading

Calculating Damages Under Colorado’s Bad Faith Statute

Colorado’s statutory bad faith cause of action can be brought in addition to a claim against the insurer to recover an owed contractual benefit. More importantly, as Jonathan Bukowski discussed in a previous blog post, a cause of action under Colorado’s bad faith statute is not limited to a wronged policyholder, but can be made by vendors of the policyholder, such as roofers or restoration contractors. Continue Reading

Insurance Bad Faith in the Virgin Islands

In the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, the two-catastrophic category five hurricanes that struck the U.S.V.I. in the space of twelve days, many residents are still in survival mode as they deal with the lingering psychological and physical damage. As the resilient Virgin Islanders continue to rebuild, the next ordeal for those affected will entail dealing with their insurance company regarding the damage to their homes and businesses. Many, including myself, can still vividly recall the failures of prior insurers following Hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Marilyn (1995) and the rippling economic effect that followed. Depending on the extent of damages, insureds may want to consider hiring a licensed and experienced public insurance adjuster to represent their interests.1 Continue Reading

The Realty of Colorado’s Anti-Concurrent Cause Exclusion Law

Coverage questions under an “all-risk” insurance policy, in their simplest form, are typically determined by whether the peril is expressly limited or excluded. But what happens when multiple perils, both covered and excluded, combine to cause a loss? From this scenario developed the theory of “concurrent causation.” Continue Reading