Insurance Companies Should Be Accountable For Not Including Legally Required Costs Of Safe Construction

Safety is first. But that is not the course of affairs when dealing with insurance company adjusters who usually say that they will not include the costs of legally required safe construction practices because their managers will not allow those costs. Continue Reading

Are My Children and Their Spouses Required to Submit to an Examination Under Oath for My Property Damage Claim?

In a recent case, a federal appeals court held that named insureds’ son and daughter-in-law were required to submit to an examination under oath (“EUO”) because they resided in the insureds’ house, and that their failure to do so precluded recovery on the insurance claim.1 Continue Reading

The (Usually) Not-So-Difficult Question: Should a Policyholder Ask To Recuse a Federal Judge?

To avoid the appearance of impropriety, the federal judiciary ensures that every case is assigned to impartial judicial officers. Absent a unique circumstance,1 all cases are assigned to a judge based on a random-draw system. Thus, there is usually no way for litigants to know which judge will preside over the action. Most districts also require the parties to file corporate disclosure forms and certify that the parties are aware of no judicial conflicts. Judges often proactively screen themselves from certain cases where parties are represented by former colleagues or law clerks. Continue Reading

What Is the California FAIR Plan?

Californians have many questions after being non-renewed by their insurance companies and unable to find another company that will insure their properties. The losses from recent wildfires have caused carriers to scale back, and some have completely ceased writing insurance in several California regions.

The California FAIR Plan remains the only option for many of these Californians. So, what is the FAIR Plan? Continue Reading

Hurricane Michael One Year Later and Keeping The Devastation in The Minds of Our Leaders

Hurricane Michael devastation and the similarity to other devastated areas is shockingly apparent to me. I lived in Panama City, Florida, and raced sailboats out of the St. Andrews Bay Yacht Club. Today, we represent the yacht club, longtime friends, iconic night clubs, a church, and numerous others as they try to get their lives, businesses, and community back on a road of recovery. Why can’t our leaders learn to do this better? Continue Reading

Former Republican Florida House Speaker Says Insurance Companies Beat Down Policyholders

Allan Bense

Hurricane Michael policyholders who are battling their insurance companies have a somewhat surprising ally in former Speaker of the Florida House Allan Bense who was quoted in a Miami Herald article, Insurance Companies ‘Terribly Unhelpful’ With Hurricane Recovery, Former Lawmaker Says. Continue Reading

Insurance Gaps Are Killing Policyholders, Your Business and Your Ability to Restore Damaged Property—Sign Up For This Friday’s Insurance Gaps Seminar

This Friday, October 11 at 12:30 p.m. EST, Holly Soffer, who is the general counsel of the American Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (AAPIA), and I will co-host a free live webinar on the subject of coverage gaps and what can be done to stop this problem. Rutgers insurance law professor Jay Feinman, author of, Delay, Deny, Defend – Why Insurance Companies Don’t Pay Claims And What You Can Do About It, will have a guest video appearance on the topic. Continue Reading

Although Many Policies Exclude Sewer Line Backups from Coverage, What Is A Government Entity’s Liability Under Inverse Condemnation?

Most homeowners are surprised to learn that almost all homeowners’ policies include exclusions for damage caused by sewage water originating outside their home. For example, if your city or county’s sewer main line backs up because of tree roots or debris and the sewage water backs up into your home, the resulting damage will not be covered, or if it is, may be subject to significant limits—often covering only $5,000 or $10,000 of damage. Given the scope of cleaning required in these events, this amount will likely not cover even the costs to clean up the sewage. What’s more, some policies even exclude backups on the homeowner’s own lateral lines. Insurers may offer policy endorsements for coverage at an additional cost, but as many homeowners shop based on price alone, they may not realize they lack the coverage until it is too late. Continue Reading

Insurance Coverage Gaps—An Increasing Insurance Crisis Which Needs To Be Addressed and Stopped

Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman has written an excellent paper regarding insurance protection gaps (of which insurance gaps are a subset) involving residential structures: The Protection Gap in Homeowners Insurance: An Introduction. I recently mentioned this emerging issue in, Coverage Gaps Plague Policyholders! Merlin Law Group and AAPIA Host Webinar Explaining What Is Being Done To Fight This Problem. Continue Reading

Why Do Claims Drag On and On in The Panhandle of Florida?

Etienne Font and Chip Merlin in Puerto Rico this week handling Hurricane Michael claims after the IAUA Conference

Insurance is an important product. It is hard for all insurers to get clams handling right after a major disaster and claims accuracy is much less certain. That is what is taught and that is a fact. I could explain that problem and give a pass to the insurance industry and even try to help educate my policyholder friends through this understandable delay and inaccuracy which is almost inevitable. Continue Reading