Nearly Ten Years Later, Hurricane Ike’s Stormy Winds Are Still Churning in the Texas Supreme Court — USAA Tex. Lloyds V. Menchaca

On April 7, 2017, the Texas Supreme Court in USAA Tex. Lloyds Co. v. Menchaca,1 answered several issues that had continually swirled around litigation arising out of Hurricane Ike policy disputes. Unresolved issues included among others:

  1. Whether an insured is required to obtain a breach of contract finding as a prerequisite to a recovery for an insured’s extra-contractual claims such as an insurer’s violations under the Texas Insurance Code; and
  2. if an insured can show entitlement or a right to policy benefits, whether those policy benefits can serve as actual damages for extra-contractual claims even if the insured cannot establish a breach of contract claim.

Continue Reading

Proposed Statutes Regarding Assignment of Insurance Benefits Withdrawn From Consideration By Florida Legislature

A handful of bills regarding proposed statutes concerning assignment of property insurance benefits were withdrawn from both houses of the Florida legislature this month. Each of the proposed laws were directed toward assignments entered into by property owners in exchange for the agreement of the assignee — typically a contractor — to complete the associated repairs for which the insurance benefits have not yet been paid, in whole or in part, by the carrier. Continue Reading

With a String of Nor’easters Pummeling the East Coast, Now Is the Time to Review Your Policy

With New York and New Jersey gearing up for what might be the third Nor’Easter in three weeks, now is a good time to review your insurance policies to aid in either making claim if you’ve already suffered damage, or to know what is covered if further damages occur. Continue Reading

My Insurance Claim Was Denied Because My Water Leak Lasted Over a Period of 14 Days or More – Was the Denial Proper?

Many property insurance policies have a provision that states something similar to the following: “we do not insure…for loss…caused by…constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water…over a period of 14 or more days.” Insureds may find their claims for water loss under their homeowners’ policy denied on the grounds that the leak was present for a period of two weeks or more. However, Florida courts have ruled that the first thirteen days of damage may be covered, due to ambiguity in the language of the policy. Continue Reading

What Constitutes a “written denial of all or part of the claim” in Federal Flood Claims?

Although we are over 5 years past Hurricane Sandy, flood insurance coverage issues are still being litigated. I previously wrote about a decision out of the U.S. District Court of the District of New Jersey, Migliaro v. Fidelity National Indemnity Insurance Company.1 Continue Reading

California Mudslide Exclusions Unenforceable Where Wildfires Caused Slide

Most homeowners and commercial insurance policies contains exclusions for loss or damages caused by mudflow or other similar occurrences. An example of on such exclusion is included below:

b. Earth Movement and Settlement, meaning earthquake, which includes land shock wavers or tremors before, during or after a volcanic eruption; landslide; mudflow; sinkhole; earth sinking, rising or shifting; clay shrinkage or other expansion or contraction of soils or organic materials; decay of buried or organic materials; setline cracking or expansion of foundation;

Continue Reading

Policyholder Attorneys Beware: Make Sure Your Contingency Fee Multiplier Awards Are Airtight and “Anderson” Proof

Back on November 7 of last year (2017), I wrote about an important opinion in the world of property insurance litigation, Joyce v. Federated National Insurance Company,1 where the Florida Supreme Court reaffirmed that you could still obtain a contingency-fee multiplier where justified under Quanstrom and in so doing reversed the Fifth District Court of Appeal finding that such a multiplier should be limited to “rare” and “exceptional” circumstances. Tom Elligett and Amy Farrior represented the Joyces in this landmark case. Continue Reading

Don’t Expose Yourself to Fraud Allegations by the Insurer

Following a devastating loss to one’s home, as is the case throughout California due to recent fires and mudslides, the process of contacting your insurer to begin the rebuilding or repair can be complicated and daunting. Many are quick to begin the rebuilding and repairs immediately or as soon as possible. However, there are requirements in working with your insurer to properly rebuild or repair. If an insured fails to follow appropriate protocols, the insurer can not only deny coverage, but do so on the basis of fraud. Continue Reading