FEMA Registration Deadline Extended Until January 8, 2018, for US Virgin Islands

Residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria now have through January 8, 2018, to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).1 Registration is required if survivors intend to apply for federal disaster benefits, such as low-interest Small Business Administration disaster loans and/or FEMA grants for rental assistance, home repairs, personal property losses, and other disaster-related needs. Continue Reading

New Cybersecurity Regulations Series (Part Two)

Part two of this series continues exploring cybersecurity regulations and breach notification requirements. [Read Part One here].

The first installment of this post mentioned some of the cyber security regulations in New York, which has been noted as leading the pack in this area.1 Part two follows up with a few additional regulations and calls to action that address cyber issues. Continue Reading

Roof Matching in Montana

We received a request for a blog related to decisions on roof matching under homeowner’s policies of insurance. In 1997 the Insurance Commissioner’s Office of Montana took a position on roof matching under the contractual duty to make a policyholder “whole” again, and the query was whether Montana had case law or statutory provisions at this time that codifies that practice. Continue Reading

Does Smoke Damage Electrical Gadgets, Computers or Apparatus?

Fires, and especially the recent California wildfires, are going to raise questions related to the long-term impact of fire, smoke, and the effects of smoke particulates on electrical gadgets, computers, and apparatus. We live in a day when computers and small computer chips are in virtually everything electrical or mechanical. It is an obvious question after a fire whether the smoke causes these fine electrical machines and gadgets to break down in the long or short term. Continue Reading

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