Christina Phillips

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Does an Insurer Have the Right to Raise a Defense in Litigation If Not a Basis For Its Denial?

The Appellate Court in New York recently reversed the trial court’s finding in favor of the insured which had concluded the vandalism exclusion did not apply to the loss.1 The insured owned certain real property which it was renovating and using as rental property. It was admitted the property had been vacant and unoccupied for … Continue Reading

“American Rule” Abolished in Oklahoma

Most states follow the “American Rule” when it comes to litigation. In other words, absent a specific statute or contractual provision to the contrary, each party pays their own legal costs and fees. However, the Oklahoma legislature passed, and on May 10, 2017, the governor signed into law, a bill which, in essence, abolished the … Continue Reading

Payment of an Appraisal Award Does Not Foreclose Insured’s Claim for Vexatious and Unreasonable Conduct in Illinois

Often an insurer will assert that their payment of an appraisal award has satisfied their obligation under the policy such that an action for “bad faith” cannot be brought. An insurer recently raised this issue in a motion to dismiss against our client arguing that the insured’s right to bring a claim for damages under … Continue Reading

Protective Safeguard Endorsements – Think Twice Before Turning Off Your Automatic Sprinkler System

Many commercial property insurance policies contain protective safeguard endorsements, which make it a condition of coverage that the protective safeguard cited in the endorsement—e.g., automatic sprinkler system, night watchman, central station fire alarm—be in operation at all times. But what happens if you disable the system and suffer a loss—is there coverage? This situation was … Continue Reading

Costs to Repair or Replace Defective Construction Excluded Under Commercial General Liability Policy

Often a homeowner’s damages are not the result of a storm event, but rather the result of defective construction. In such situations, the homeowner will often pursue an action against the general contractor or subcontractor for various claims, such as negligence or breach of implied warranty of habitability. Ultimately, the question becomes whether the contractor … Continue Reading

You’re Invited – American Bar Association Property Law Insurance Committee’s Spring CLE

Have you ever wondered about when an insurer is obligated to issue payment for a covered loss, or what the necessary conditions are to trigger that obligation? What about the considerations, pros and cons, of submitting a proof of loss? Or how insureds can effectively use coverage extensions, additional coverages and sublimit in their claims?… Continue Reading

Does a Partial Denial and Jury Demand Prohibit the Insurer From Proceeding with Appraisal?

It happens frequently: The insurance company admits the policy covered part of the loss but refuses payment at the time because the amount of the loss falls below the deductible. The insurer then admits the insured also suffered other damages to the property, but denies coverage for this damage for a variety of exclusions or … Continue Reading

Property Insurance 101 Webinar

As the Chair of the Property Insurance Law Committee for the American Bar Association I am excited to announce and invite you to attend our 90-minute audio webinar: Property Insurance 101 ! Covering topics such as insurable interest, policy language, exclusions, endorsements, limitations, and bad faith, the program is a great refresher for any seasoned … 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 … Continue Reading

Supplemental Insurance Claims – Insureds Beware of Requirements Outside the Policy

Supplemental claims are becoming more common, especially on large projects where additional loss and damage may be discovered while completing the repairs or replacement. But what happens when the insurance company places conditions or limitations not contained within the policy upon the submission of a supplemental claim for additional or missed damages?… Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading