Tag Archives: California

California Supreme Court Affirms California Fair Plan Ass’n v. Garnes, and Preserves Homeowners’ Interests

The California Department of Insurance recently issued a press release announcing that the California Supreme Court affirmed the homeowner reimbursement protections recently decided in California Fair Plan Association v. Garnes.1 Back in June, my colleague Kevin Pollack wrote about the recent decision and whether actual cash value means fair market value or replacement cost minus … Continue Reading

Insurance Bad Faith Can Also Be Found When an Insurer Fails to Properly Investigate the Claim

Insurance Codes are regulated by each state, but ask any insurance company representative in any state and they will tell you it is an insurance company’s duty to place the insured’s interest ahead of the insurance company’s interests; and the proper way to handle a claim is to find coverage wherever possible.… 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

Personal Property Depreciation by the Insurance Company After a Loss Should be Scrutinized by Policyholders

I often hear the same complaint from clients: They feel the insurance company has undervalued their personal property after a loss and are frustrated by the insurance company’s valuation and rate of depreciation. The reality is that even when an insured has a “replacement cost” policy, the insurance company can depreciate personal property values because … Continue Reading

Proof of Loss: Can an Insurer Deny Coverage and Later Argue the Claim is Barred Because the Insured Did Not Comply with the Proof of Loss Condition?

Insurers on occasion deny coverage or make claim decisions based on one ground, and then later, during litigation, seek to avoid liability based upon an entirely new defense theory. Although coverage decision letters regularly throw in boilerplate language seeking to avoid waiving coverage defenses, I was recently asked whether an insurer can deny coverage or … Continue Reading

The Genuine Dispute Defense and Bad Faith

Insurers often seek to avoid liability for bad faith by asserting the “Genuine Dispute Doctrine.” Under the genuine dispute rule, an insurer’s coverage or claim decision may not be in bad faith when it mistakenly withholds policy benefits, if the mistake is reasonable and is based on a legitimate dispute as to the insurer’s liability.1… Continue Reading

Insurers Must Provide Complete Replacement Cost Estimates

The California Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling yesterday requiring insurers to communicate “complete” replacement cost estimates to insureds.1 The ruling not only found the regulation requiring this action to be well within the Insurance commissioner’s authority, but found the basis for the regulation to be well founded. It is a wonderful victory for policyholders … Continue Reading

Examinations Under Oath – What You Need to Know

Most property and business policies contain a provision requiring the insured to submit to an examination under oath (known as an “EUO”) by the insurance company in connection with an insurance claim. It is similar to a deposition, with the policyholder providing sworn testimony under penalty of perjury. However, it is under a contractual policy … Continue Reading

Class Action Highlights Notification Requirements When Insurers Seek to Reduce Coverage Associated with “Renewals”

A recently filed proposed class action1 accusing California health insurance giant Anthem Blue Cross of using a "bait and switch" scheme that offered insurance policy "renewals" that did not clearly disclose major policy changes offers a great example of why the law requires insurers to notify insureds of reductions in insurance coverage.… Continue Reading

Do All Insurance Policies Require a Total Collapse to Trigger Collapse Coverage?

In California, if a property insurance policy does not specifically require a collapse to be complete or actual falling down to trigger coverage, then an imminent (i.e., impending) collapse will probably trigger coverage.1 However, on the flipside, if a policy does specifically require a collapse to be “complete” or “actual” falling down, then an imminent … Continue Reading

California Earthquake Policies Add Endorsements

While the rest of the country watches for hurricanes, Californians are wondering when the next large earthquake will occur. Unfortunately, there is very little time to prepare for an earthquake as there really are not sufficient warning signs that can allow homeowners and businesses to pack up or board up their breakable belongings. Although most … Continue Reading

California to Decide Whether Policyholder Attorney Fees Are Included to Calculate Punitive Damages

The California Supreme Court heard oral argument recently on an issue that is important to insurance policyholders forced to sue their insurers for bad faith and punitive damages: Whether an award of attorney fees should be included as compensatory damages for purposes of calculating the ratio between punitive and compensatory damages. The case is Nickerson … Continue Reading
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