Florida Investigative Report Highlights Florida Legislators Taking Away Policyholder Protections

Reporter Steve Andrews ran a televised story highlighting that some Florida legislators are listening to insurance company lawyers and lobbyists rather than taking care of their constituents in Consumers Would Take Hit If Insurance Lobby Gets Its Way, and Change in Insurance Law Would Take Away Consumers’ Day in Court. The story references Florida House Bill 751 filed by Representative Alex Andrade. Senate Bill 1464 filed by Senator Jeff Brandes from St. Petersburg is just as bad. It is obviously written by insurance company lawyers and lobbyists wanting to make it more difficult for policyholders to bring actions holding delaying, denying, and underpaying insurance companies accountable. Continue Reading

Are Market Conduct Examiners Listening to Common Property Insurance Claims Complaints?

Market conduct examinations of insurance company claims practices are important. Do you think that examiners are listening to the same repetitive complaints I hear from policyholders, contractors, roofers, public adjusters and other lawyers at the various seminars and trade shows I attend? Continue Reading

Insurance Agent Error and Omission—Merlin Law Group Wins Trial

Mike Duffy & Chip Merlin

An insurance agent has many responsibilities which to do correctly, requires a great amount of specific education and a lot of attention to detail. Insurance agents are important because they sell one of the most important financial products any of us can purchase. The entire purpose of the insurance product they sell protects us from financial calamity. Every now and then, a lack of attention to detail comes back to harm a customer. Continue Reading

Is A Licensed Public Adjuster Disqualified To Act As An Appraiser For Somebody Other Than A Policyholder?

Chip Merlin and Stephanie Lee

Public adjuster Stephanie Lee approached me at the Win The Storm conference with an intriguing question—could she be appointed by a contractor holding an Assignment of Claim as the contractor’s appraiser in an appraisal? My first thought, and I bet it is the same thought most reading this blog, was “why not?” Continue Reading

Can a Policyholder Litigate Bad Faith in the Breach of Contract Lawsuit?

Texas policyholders have been through somewhat of a drought lately when it comes to favorable opinions regarding the disposition of motions to sever and abate filed by Defendant insurers. A break in this dry spell, however, arrived with the recent decision of Donald v. Metropolitan Lloyds Insurance Company of Texas.1 Continue Reading

Insurance Regulation and the Attack on Admitted Insurance Carriers in Florida

Insurance regulation is important. Unlike other commercial products, insurance is a product that serves the public trust. Without regulation, history has proven that insurers cannot control themselves. They go broke just when we need them the most and their claims practices, if unchecked, can be atrocious.

States with a strong admitted marketplace should be encouraged. States without a strong admitted marketplace run the risk of outrageous rates, bankrupt insurers and the lack of an insurance market which meets the needs specific to that state. Florida, with its peculiar geographic risk to hurricanes, especially needs a strong admitted market. Continue Reading

The Protection Gap in Property Insurance—Why Nobody Should Buy Farmers Smart Plan Insurance

Professor Jay Feinman

Gaps in Insurance coverage are an increasingly significant issue. The Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility and the Rutgers Law School will hold a conference on The Protection Gap in Property Insurance, on Friday, March 29. This conference will address the protection gap in residential and commercial property losses and related types of losses in the United States. Continue Reading

Insurance Recovery for Condominium Policyholders

Condado is a diverse community in San Juan, Puerto Rico, that is 7 miles long but well known by tourists for hotels, restaurants and beaches. For the locals this area it is also known for its numerous condominiums, which were greatly affected in 2017 by Hurricane Maria. To this date, many of the insurance companies have not paid or continue denying coverage to condominium policyholders in this area. Continue Reading

Statutory Penalties Plus Punitives and No Caps

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Tennessee recently ruled and reaffirmed that a Tennessee policyholder is not limited to the statutory extracontractual remedy for an insurer’s bad faith refusal to pay on a policy. She may also be awarded punitive damages under common law. And, further, the Tennessee legislative cap on punitive damages is an “unconstitutional invasion of the right to trial by jury under the Tennessee Constitution.” Continue Reading

Can My Recovery be Limited to Actual Cash Value When the Insurer’s Failure to Pay Prevented Compliance with My Policy Condition on Recovering Replacement Cost?

Insurers often try to limit damages once they are found liable for breach of the insurance contract by claiming that the insurance policy limits the insured’s recovery to the actual cash value because the insured did not comply with the policy’s condition on recovering replacement cost.1 Continue Reading

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