Hurricane Irma Mandatory Evacuations Taken Seriously by Tampa Bay Area and Merlin’s Tampa Office

On Friday, I took a deposition from our Tampa office via video conference questioning an adjuster in Charlotte. At about 1:45 pm, Erin Dunnovant rushed in our boardroom to tell me the office building and our entire area was being evacuated. I had to suspend the deposition and grab my computer. Opposing counsel said they would help in any way possible and took my cell number. He already sent a message about staying safe. Continue Reading

Hurricane Harbour’s Bobbi Storm Correctly Calls Naples Landfall

Many forecasters called for Hurricane Irma to stay five to ten miles off Florida’s west coast. This would expose us to the worst winds and historic flood surge. One quirky and dedicated hurricane expert, Bobbi Storm, called for mainland landfall in Naples.

IRMA LANDFALL …MARCO ISLAND, EVERGLADES CITY .. NAPLES … MOVING N TMOBILE DOWN IN WEST BROWARD..LOOK WHERE IT MADE LANDFALL..Just W of Hurricane Donna.. Same Day in 1960.. Moving NORTH…NORTH not NNW.. Made the turn sooner rather than later.. New cone at 5 PM or 11 PM? Continue Reading

Key West Takes Direct Hit From Irma—Take Insurance Papers With You

One lesson I learned from Hurricane Katrina was to take your insurance papers with you when you leave. If a major storm surge hits, the local insurance agency is going to get hit as well. It may wash away or not open for weeks. Owners of property may find their own property washed away along with the insurance papers carefully tucked away. The National Guard and police may prevent you from going back to your property for weeks. While many—but not all—can remember their insurance carrier, which Write Your Own flood carrier is on the declarations sheet is usually a guess without the paperwork. Continue Reading

Assignment of Contingent Benefits in California

In Assignment of Unaccrued or Contingent Benefits, I discussed the distinction between assignments of Contingent Benefits and assignments of Noncontingent Benefits under a property insurance policy. For purposes of this blog, a Contingent Benefit is a benefit or payment that is either not yet fixed in amount or the carrier is not yet obligated to provide because additional, specific conditions of the policy have not yet been fulfilled or excused. Noncontingent Benefits are those for which all of the applicable conditions have been fulfilled or excused and the carrier’s obligation to provide the benefits (such as a payment) has accrued. An example of a Noncontingent Benefit is a policyholder’s right to receive payment of the Actual Cash Value (ACV) of a claim after the insurance company has been notified of the loss and the policyholder has cooperated with the carrier’s evaluation of the loss. An example of a Contingent Benefit regarding a replacement cost property insurance policy is the right to receive the depreciation holdback (sometimes called the replacement cost holdback) prior to completion of the underlying repairs. In other words, the carrier’s obligation to pay the depreciation holdback is contingent upon, and does not arise unless and until, the underlying repairs are completed. Continue Reading

Last Minute Preparations for Hurricane Irma

Most Floridians are making their last minute preparations for Hurricane Irma and protecting their property from potential damage. In addition to having enough batteries, flashlights, bottled water, food, medications, and pet supplies, you want to make sure your important documents are in a safe, waterproof and easy to access location. This includes your homeowners insurance policy and flood insurance policy. If you only have a hard copy of your policy, make pictures or scan the policy and save it to the cloud. Continue Reading

Federal Insurance Administrator Responds to Merlin and Provides Hope For Fair Claims Process

Truthfully, we asked Amy Bach of United Policyholders to help request an immediate extension. As the oldest and largest non-profit organization dedicated solely to advocating for policyholders, she has a lot of pull and respectful working relationships with those administrating the National Flood Program. Continue Reading

Hurricane Irma – Useful Tips and Important Resources Including Websites and Phone Numbers

Over the years, the Merlin Law Group’s Blog has provided hurricane advice and assistance. I wrote a blog in advance of Hurricane Matthew, Quick Tips and Useful Links – Hurricane Matthew. My colleague, Nicole Vinson, posted a blog, Don’t Ignore Warnings of Tropical Systems. Continue Reading

The Use of Shrink Wrap on Roofs

Note: This guest post is by Steven Thomas. As President and Owner of Roof Leak Detection Company, Inc., Steven Thomas has evaluated over 20,000 roofing systems on commercial, industrial, and residential properties, and has been qualified in court as an expert in regards to roof testing and evaluations. His company is an approved Testing Laboratory and has held this certification since 1994.

I have seen a trend lately which occurs after severe weather impacts an area and damage has been caused by either hail, wind, or extreme amounts of rain (like what I witnessed this past week in Texas), and Contractors have been applying shrink wrap to roofs. Apparently, they use shrink wrap to prevent water from entering the building. When you have a leaky roof, it is costly to repair and annoying to say the least! And yes, shrink wrap can certainly provide a temporary relief from the immediate problem of water coming into the structure; however, every novel idea has its problems too! Continue Reading