Chip Merlin

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Super Lawyer Rene Sigman Joins Merlin Law Group in Texas

Rene Sigman first came to my attention in 2008 at a Hurricane Ike hearing in Galveston. I told Javier Delgado that “this lawyer has her act together.” I then watched as she headed-up Mostyn Law Firm’s litigation department, winning thousands of cases resulting from Hurricane Ike and then in New York following Superstorm Sandy. We … Continue Reading

Appraisers Agreeing Not To Include Issues of Loss May Render Policyholders with No Later Recovery

Appraisals can result in losing propositions for policyholders. I often teach that policyholders need to make certain that they do their best during appraisal and not expect a bad award to get overturned. Policyholders need very hardworking, honest, and knowledgeable persons selected as their appraisers.… Continue Reading

Cracks Caused by Construction Operations May Be Covered

Judges often make erroneous decisions based on the information presented and argued to them by the attorneys selected by the parties. I was thinking about this while writing my post, Experts Regarding Causation Can Be More Important Than Witnesses — or, Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes When Your Insurance Company Hires an Expert.… Continue Reading

Experts Regarding Causation Can Be More Important Than Witnesses — or, Don’t Believe Your Lying Eyes When Your Insurance Company Hires an Expert

Insurance companies hire all kinds of experts to help them for all kinds of reasons. The problem is that some experts are not honest and never try to find the truth. The other problem is some policyholders or their under-financed attorneys do not hire experts or very good experts.… Continue Reading

Insurance Consultants and People Not Licensed as Public Adjusters Cannot Work on Property Insurance Claims

Florida law is significantly more specific about who may work on, aid in, or prepare a claim for a policyholder. Many insurance restoration contractors, all insurance consultants, and all those non-licensed third parties who help contractors, policyholders and public adjusters with insurance claims should get ready for a new way of doing business when a … Continue Reading

Is SIMSOL Better Than Xactimate?

I walk around at conventions and conferences trying to learn and pick up ideas I can use. At the first celebration of FAPIA’s 25th Anniversary two weeks ago, I stopped at the SIMSOL vendor booth. I asked a rather simple question: Why do you guys think you are better than Xactimate?… Continue Reading

Insurance Agents and Determining Coverage Limits for Buildings

The above photograph depicts the panel I was on at the Florida Association of Insurance Agents Convention last week. It was a wonderful presentation moderated by a fantastic insurance educator, David Thompson. The workshops, myriad insurance vendors, and networking opportunities opened my eyes about a truly important association which dedicates itself to promoting professionalism by … Continue Reading

NAPIA Annual Meeting in San Antonio Will Discuss Water Damage Claim and Unauthorized Practice of Public Adjusting

Joey Childress and yours truly will present a seminar of water damage claims at the National Association of Public Insurance Adjusters Convention in San Antonio next week. I discussed how public adjusters can register and even get a discount for attending in Are You a Public Adjuster Who Wants to Be Better at Helping Policyholders … Continue Reading

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
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