Is a Door Part of a Wall When It Comes to Hurricane Damage, and Who Gets to Decide?

In a recent appellate decision out of the Court of Appeals of Texas in Beaumont, the appellate court affirmed a jury verdict for the Defendant insurance company.1 The case centered on damage from Hurricane Ike that resulted from water entering the home from separations between a door and its frame, specifically, the wind from the storm effectively removed the weather stripping around the insureds’ French doors. Continue Reading

Court Finds You Must Submit a Contract for Sinkhole Repairs as a Precondition to Payment of a Judgment

Previously, Florida’s Second District Court of Appeal found that homeowners who had their sinkhole claim denied by their insurance company, but who ultimately prevailed at a jury trial could not be paid their $168,000.00 judgment until they entered a contract to repair their home.1 The court reasoned that because the policy and Florida sinkhole statutes provide for the immediate payment of Actual Cash Value (i.e., above ground repairs) but condition payment for foundation repair and ground stabilization on receiving a contract, the court must enforce that provision of the policy. The court found that since the homeowners chose to enforce the contract by suing Citizens for breach of contract, once the jury found there was coverage, the trial court was obligated to enforce the policy—even the policy’s restriction on Citizens payment to its insured, post-judgment.2 Continue Reading

2017 Hurricane Season Recap

The Ruskin National Weather Service in conjunction with the Port Heavy Weather Advisory Group, which covers West Florida, published the attached recap of the 2017 Hurricane Season. I thought it was a great summary of what happened and discusses the major storms we faced during the 2017 Hurricane Season.

The summary warns that La Niña is expected to continue this winter and will bring fierce winds during winter storms. If it continues for the 2018 Hurricane season, we can expect similar above average hurricane activity.

Thought For The Day

“Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
—Nils Bohr, Nobel Recipient in Physics

Is Water Damage Caused by a Burst Water Main Covered?

An Illinois homeowner recently contacted me regarding an insurer’s denial of a water damage claim. The facts were: An underground pipe which was part of a municipal water supply system (“the water main”) burst and water was released from the water main. The pressure from the water cracked the street pavement and water flowed onto the pavement, travelled across the pavement, and then down the sloped driveway leading into the garage of the insured dwelling. Ultimately, the water flowed into the lower level of the home, damaging building materials and personal property. Continue Reading

California Wildfires Declared State of Emergency – How Does That Impact My Additional Living Expenses?

The buzz amongst policyholders about what insurance owe for additional living expenses due to the Northern California Wildfires is still going strong as Southern California braces this week for Santa Ana winds. With predicted gusts up to 70 mph, Southern Californians are in real danger of the potential for wildfires. Recently, I’ve received quite a few calls from victims of the Northern California wildfires asking what their rights are under their additional living expenses portion of their insurance policies. Most policies limit policyholders to one year of additional living expenses (ALE) or the reasonable time to rebuild. In the recent Northern California wildfires, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency which means that every policyholder with proper additional living expense coverage under their policy has an extension of an additional year for ALE. Continue Reading

What the Heck Was Uber Thinking: Non-Disclosure and Other Missteps After a Data Breach Are Prime Triggers For Regulatory Scrutiny (Part I)

This is the first post in a two-part series about cybersecurity regulations and breach notification requirements.

Recent headlines of high-profile cyber-attacks confirm the maxim that the cover up usually causes more trouble than the event itself. Continue Reading

“Like Kind and Quality” Is an Appraisable Issue

Following a loss, the issue of replacement with “like kind and quality” often arises whether it be with the replacement of personal property or building materials. The phrase “like kind and quality” is typically not defined in an insurance policy, so whether construction is of “like kind and quality” can easily become a dispute. But is this dispute subject to appraisal? Continue Reading