Update on Houston Flood Litigation Against US Army Corps of Engineers

Houston was under water during Hurricane Harvey. Many people whose properties were not flooded from the Hurricane itself, and had never previously flooded, found themselves waist deep in flood water – their homes, businesses, and personal property forever ruined. Continue Reading

Puerto Rico Update: Real Legacy Confirms Rumors of Insolvency – What’s Next?

For some time now, people have been keeping a close eye on several of Puerto Rico’s major insurance carriers due to rumors of insolvency. One of those insurance carriers, Real Legacy Assurance, has unfortunately confirmed these rumors and recently filed for liquidation. According to reports, the carrier has paid nearly $40 million dollars to settle approximately 630 claims – however, many more Hurricane Irma and Maria claims remain unresolved.1 Continue Reading

Case Highlights How Writing and Interpreting Policies Can Be Challenging in Today’s Technological World

In the recent case of Rainforest Chocolate, LLC v. Sentinel Insurance Company, Ltd.,1 the Supreme Court of Vermont found coverage for Rainforest where Sentinel’s “false pretense” exclusion turned out to be ambiguous as there were at least two reasonable interpretations of what constituted “physical loss or physical damages.”2 Continue Reading

Arbitration Is an Increasing Trend Found Within Property Insurance Policies, and Arbitration is Not Appraisal

The photograph above depicts the Merlin Law Group “War Room” during a week-long arbitration last week. Michael Duffy, Ian Dankelman, Eric Dickey, and Kelly Kubiak were the winning Merlin Law Group team obtaining a $3.1 million award on Saturday. What a way to start off the year! Continue Reading

Appraisal: Competent, Disinterested and Impartial. Are appraisers and Umpires Ever Actually Any of the Three?

Recently, I presented at the Professional Public Adjusters Association of New Jersey educational conference on the area of insurance appraisal to roughly 30 public adjusters. During my preparation, I reviewed current and past appraisal provisions contained within standard insurance policies. In my research, I found some very interesting differences contained within insurance policy appraisal provisions concerning three key terms: competent, disinterested and impartial. Continue Reading

Insurance Agent Versus Experienced Policyholder Attorney Viewpoints About Insurance Coverage Denials

Ed Eshoo works out of Merlin Law Group’s Chicago office and is one of the best property insurance policyholder coverage attorneys you could find. I do not think there is anybody with a national reputation as being “the expert” on the 165-line Standard Fire Insurance Policy on a national, rather than state, basis. Ed is an extreme competitor, and it shows in his daughter Emily Eshoo who is a varsity basketball player at the University of Tampa.

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Subsequent Claims for Items Not Considered by Appraisal Panel

Appraisal provisions in property insurance policies are intended to provide an alternative dispute resolution process for resolving property insurance claim disputes involving the amount of loss. The amount awarded by the appraisal panel is, with limited exceptions, binding on both parties under the terms of the policy. While the appraisal process is intended to bring finality to a dispute, what happens when the appraisal panel fails to consider certain items due to limitations or restrictions on the scope of the appraisal or unanticipated factual issues not considered by the panel? Such a situation poses the question of whether Colorado appraisal awards preclude any further breach of contract claims for unanticipated circumstances. Continue Reading

Even If You Don’t Live in a Flood Prone Area, You May Want a Flood Risk Policy in Place

In July, 2016, what has been called a 200-to-500 year thunderstorm dropped between five and seven inches of rain in a two-hour period in Princeton, New Jersey. The heavy rain fall resulted in water pooling at the bottom of a stairwell below street level, next to a salon’s glass door entrance. Continue Reading

Hurricane Michael Brings Back Memories of Living in Panama City, Florida, and a Tip About Damaged Photograph Claims

I grew up in a United States Coast Guard family. One of the fondest two years of my life was when my father was stationed on the USCG Dependable and we lived in Panama City, Florida. I sailed in every nook and lagoon of St. Andrews Bay and raced sailboats like my life’s existence depended upon me winning races. Continue Reading

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