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Standard Fire Insurance Policies Still Provide Basic Protections—A Major Victory for Policyholders and Merlin Law Group

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeal’s opinion this week in Streit v. Metropolitan Casualty Insurance Company,1 is a major victory for policyholders in Illinois. There, the Seventh Circuit affirmed the lower court judgment entered in favor of my clients, Wesley and Barbara Streit, arising out of Metropolitan’s failure to cover a fire loss to their … Continue Reading

Insurers Cannot Rely on Rescission if They Fail to Inquire and Investigate Insureds Before Claims

After a claim is made, and despite the obligation to objectively, fairly, and reasonably investigate a claim with an eye toward providing coverage and without putting the insurance company’s interests ahead of their insured’s, some insurers actively look for ways to deny coverage. One of the ways some insurers do this is by using the … Continue Reading

Does Actual Cash Value Mean Fair Market Value or Replacement Cost minus Depreciation?

What is an insured, who has an “actual cash value” property insurance policy, entitled to recover when their property is damaged, but not a total loss? Is the insured entitled to the cost to repair/replace the property minus depreciation? Or is the insured’s recovery limited to the property’s fair market value? What if the property’s … Continue Reading

When Must a Negligence Claim Be Brought Against an Illinois Insurance Producer?

Section 13-214.4 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure provides that “[a]ll causes of action brought by any person or entity under any statute or any legal or equitable theory against an insurance producer1 . . . concerning the sale, placement, procurement, renewal, cancellation of, or failure to procure any policy of insurance shall be … Continue Reading

Court Upholds Post-Loss Assignment of Claims

Larry Bache and I have many cases in Nebraska where we represent a contractor with assignments of insurance claims from homeowners. These assignments were made after a hail loss. The policyholder assigned his rights to the insurance claim to the roofing contractor working on his property. Most insurance policies contain what is called an anti-assignment … Continue Reading

Allstate Voids Policy and is Awarded Damages Due to Policyholder Misrepresentations

On November 22, 2016, Judge Berle M. Schiller from the District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania issued his Opinion and Order in Payne v. Allstate Insurance Company, granting summary judgment to Allstate and awarding them $25,000 in damages, after finding that the Plaintiff made material misrepresentations while securing the homeowners policy.… Continue Reading

State Farm Claims Whistleblowers Win in United States Supreme Court and May Get Additional Evidence of Wrongdoing

The Rigsby sisters have now prevailed in the highest court of the land in their decade long fight against State Farm.1 The Rigsby sisters were catastrophe adjusters working for State Farm on Hurricane Katrina claims. I have noted this case for some time: The Insurance Adjuster’s Dilemma: Tell the Truth and Face the Consequences By … Continue Reading

Bad Faith Finding in NFIP Flood Case

It is the general understanding when one brings a lawsuit on a flood claim under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that the only recovery available to the policyholder is actual damages. The policyholder is not entitled to attorney fees or bad faith (extra-contractual) damages, which might be recoverable in other first-party property damage cases. … Continue Reading

A Hail Dented Roof is Covered Direct Physical Damage and Loss

Only insurance company claims managers and their paid for lawyers could argue that a hail dented roof is not a covered loss under a property insurance policy which specifically covers hail damage. A federal appellate court decision issued last week1 helps put an end to these crazy attempts by insurance company lawyers that argue virtually anything … Continue Reading

Bad Faith Case Against Safeco Abated, Not Dismissed, in Florida

Recently the Fourth District Court of Appeal (“4th DCA”) abated a bad faith case brought against Safeco. The underlying issue of coverage was also involved in the lawsuit. We have often discussed how Florida law requires a determination of liability and extent of damages before a bad faith action can proceed. The 4th DCA decided … Continue Reading

Federal Judge Finds “Reckless” and “Grossly Negligent” Conduct By BP Led to 2010 Oil Spill

The almost 4-year long court battle surrounding the BP Oil Spill seems to have taken a turn for the worst for BP. Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana determined the London-based company’s gross negligence and willful misconduct led to millions of gallons of oil being spilled into the Gulf … Continue Reading

In Florida, An Appraisal Award May Be A Final Determination Of Liability For A Bad Faith Case – Update

On August 30, 2014, I wrote about a hot topic in Florida that concerns whether a policyholder can pursue a bad faith case against their insurance company after the claim proceeds through the appraisal process and an award is entered: In Florida, an Appraisal Award May Be a Final Determination of Liability For a Bad … Continue Reading

Recent Florida Case on Submission of Proof of Loss – Why is There Not a Fact Question for the Jury to Decide?

Florida’s 4th District Court of Appeals (“4th DCA”), recently issued an opinion relating to compliance with post-loss duties in a property insurance case.1 The issue centered on whether the policyholder breached their duties under the insurance contract by not timely submitting a sworn proof of loss. The trial court decided that the policyholder could not … Continue Reading

Late Notice in New York – Part II Recent Court of Appeals Ruling Rejects Expansion of Current Law

In a recent blog I discussed how a Second Circuit Court of Appeals case, Fabrozzi v. Lexington Insurance Company,1 interpreted the law regarding “Late Notice” expansively in favor of policyholders. A recent New York State Court of Appeals ruling has failed to continue this expansion and has left the law as it was regarding a … Continue Reading

Another Case on Florida’s Statute of Limitations for Property Insurance Claims

Recently, Florida’s Fourth District Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving Florida’s Statute of Limitations for property insurance claims.1 The question in this case, as well as many others recently, involves a 2011 amendment to §95.11(2)(e), which states that the limitations period in an action for breach of a property insurance contract begins … Continue Reading
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