Chip Merlin

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Insurance Company and Independent Adjusting Firms That Do Not Provide Personal Protection Equipment to Fire Claim Adjusters Are Violating OSHA Standards

Fires scenes are inherently dangerous workplaces for insurance adjusters. Yet—as I stated yesterday in, OSHA Standards Apply to Insurance Adjusters, it is my experience that most insurance companies and independent adjusting firms have no safety program nor training for their adjusters who work at fire scenes adjusting losses and evaluating damages. This is illegal and in … Continue Reading

OSHA Standards Apply to Insurance Adjusters

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards apply to all insurance adjusters. I am in my second OSHA class because I was curious how these standards impact costs of construction. My hunch is that many adjusters have no clue about all the standards and fail to make cost estimates which comply with federal law.… Continue Reading

State Legislation Regarding Property Insurance is Filed All Over the Country

Merlin Law Group has recently entered into a custom service with our online legal research vendor to provide updates on proposed property insurance legislation, regulations, and insurance commissioner bulletins. The reason is we have done this is because of the increased number of proposed bills and changes in administrative law from the departments of insurance. … Continue Reading

Undisputed Amounts of a Loss Should Be Promptly Paid

Undisputed amounts of loss were discussed at the ABA property insurance law subcommittee last week. I have never met an insurance adjuster who said his company refused to pay undisputed amounts of loss when coverage was admitted. But, I have had insurance defense attorneys argue there is no legal obligation to pay undisputed partial amounts … Continue Reading

John Garaffa on Insurable Interest

It is amusing and almost stunning to find others who used to be young attorney “rookies” in this field of property insurance law become masters. John Garaffa of Butler Weihmuller Katz Craig, is now a master in this field of law. He captured the room of property insurance law lawyers with what would normally be … Continue Reading

Defective Construction and Ensuing Loss Provisions

A public adjuster called with a common situation—a property loss occurred during repair and the insurance company had initially denied the claim, saying that the loss was from defective construction. The smart public adjuster thought the property damage caused in part by defective construction could lead to coverage under an ensuing loss provision. The policyholder … Continue Reading

Merlin vs Badger II – Gonna Be the Baddest Show in Orlando

The Windstorm Insurance Conference in Orlando will feature a debate re-match between yours truly representing the policyholder view and Steve Badger who represents insurance companies. Many of my policyholder friends often ask how I can have such a good professional relationship with Badger whom they view as somebody akin to Darth Vader. I am certain some … Continue Reading

Insurance Bulletins Can Help Consumers Looking for Full Recovery

Rarely do insurance commissioner bulletins warn insurance companies of paying too much or that consumers are not entitled to insurance benefits. Most departments of insurance only write bulletins because insurance company adjusters pay far too less to similarly situated consumers suffering from the same loss.  Of course, insurance company lobbyists now go into overdrive to … Continue Reading

Building Losses Before Demolition

A public adjuster asked me for a copy of Cigna Property & Casualty Insurance Company v. Verzi1. It involves a fairly uncommon situation where a building is damaged or destroyed before a contemplated demolition. Insurers usually try to avoid paying these losses because they argue the policyholder is obtaining a windfall. From their view, the … Continue Reading

The Pain of Loss Following a Catastrophe

David Hisey is a great guy and has worked for the insurance industry forever. He ran the Winsdstorm Network’s golf tournament for over a decade. The picture above is his burned home from the recent Gatlinburg wildfire. Losing everything and the memories associated with your home is one of the worst emotional times in life. … 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

Incentive Pay to Lower Insurance Claims to Policyholders Still Exists

The recent Wells Fargo calamity of opening customer accounts without permission underscores how financial incentives can promote unethical behavior by employees on the front line of servicing customers. I was asked by a reporter involved with stories of the recent Tennessee wildfire whether insurance companies offer incentive pay to their claims managers.… Continue Reading

Calculating Depreciation: Are Generic Tables Reliable or Based on Any Scientific Study?

Depreciation tables were first introduced to me when studying accounting at the University of Florida. The tables were based on tax schedules and other accounting methods which usually had nothing to do with the actual depreciation of an item. Indeed, if you used tax depreciation tables, some items could be written off immediately despite little … Continue Reading

Determining Depreciation: The Definition of Actual Cash Value Varies Widely Between States

In yesterday’s post, Determining Depreciation–Are Policyholders Getting Ripped Off, I promised to discuss issues of actual cash value and depreciation. The article I am critiquing giving rise to this discussion cited California law regarding actual cash value and then made this statement: In states in which condition is not included in the definition of actual … Continue Reading
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