In May of 2019, a decision made by a panel of Florida’s Fifth District Court of Appeals sparked an important debate that could have consequences for policyholders and their insurers throughout the state of Florida. The Florida Supreme Court will soon end that debate, and its decision could impact how attorneys choose to approach advocating for policyholders when delays in payment directly result in lost income for insureds. Continue Reading Consequential and Foreseeable Damages: Recovery of Lost Rent Directly Attributable to the Insurer’s Breach of Contract

Insurance companies owe their insureds a duty to fully and fairly investigate a property loss, which includes a comprehensive inspection to identify all damages associated to the claim. Unfortunately, insurance adjusters will sometimes utilize an “any port in the storm” style reason to deny a claim; the adjuster cannot point to a specific tangible basis for denial, instead relying on a hypothetical justification. In that situation, the adjuster’s denial stands in paradox to the insurer’s duty to investigate a claim. Continue Reading Claim Denial Reason: Did the Insurance Company Show Their Work?

September 20, 2020, marked Hurricane Maria’s third anniversary of devastating the island of Puerto Rico. Since then, policyholders have overcome many obstacles, but many are still struggling with property damages that have not yet been repaired. Insurance companies are still denying and underpaying Hurricane Maria insurance claims, and yet we must ask: What have we learned? Continue Reading Hurricane Maria’s Third Anniversary – What Have We Learned?

I was publicly debating at an appraisal conference in Denver with insurance defense lawyer Steve Badger about various matters regarding appraisals. I answered a question posed that if new evidence came up to the insured’s selected appraiser which indicated that the prior payment by the insurance company was more than enough and the insurance carrier clearly overpaid, did the insured’s appraiser have to agree to an value even lower than what was previously paid? Continue Reading Do Insurance Companies Select Appraisers Based on Lowered Awards to Their Customers?

Larry Bache, who will talk about Hurricane Sally claims in Florida, was debating with Derek Chaiken in our Los Angeles office about smoke residue claims versus char claims from the California Wildfires when I came up with the brilliant idea of holding an impromptu seminar with Merlin Law Group attorneys about all the ongoing catastrophes, on my Tuesdays at 2 With Chip. Deborah Trotter is licensed in Louisiana and will join us about Hurricane Laura claims. Ashley Harris is licensed in Alabama and will join us in about Hurricane Sally claims there. I am licensed just about everywhere but will concentrate on Texas claims from Beta. Continue Reading Beta in Texas, Laura in Louisiana, Sally in Alabama and Florida, and Wildfires in California—Do Not Miss Learning From Attorneys in All These Jurisdictions Today at Tuesdays With Chip at 2

The First Party Claims Conference is going virtual this year. While trying to think of a pithy and timely topic to teach, I noticed that insurance defense attorney Shannon O’Malley of Zelle LLP, had just written an article, Commercial Property Insurance Coverage and Coronavirus.1 Since the article did not indicate that businesses being shut down by COVID-19 would have an easy time collecting under their business interruption coverages, including civil authority coverage, Shannon received much criticism from policyholder attorneys for her views. Continue Reading Do Not Miss Analysis of Civil Authority Coverage at the First Party Claims Conference

As the year goes on, state and federal trial courts will continue to tackle legal issues brought on by COVID-19. One recent decision comes from the Middle District of Florida, which recently granted an insurance carrier’s Motion to Dismiss a dental practice’s Complaint brought under the business income and civil authority provisions of the policy. Continue Reading Trial Court Grants Motion to Dismiss Complaint Based on Virus Exclusion in Policy

Every insurance policy outlines certain duties a policyholder is required to perform following a loss. However, the prompt notice provision appears to be increasingly gaining traction by opportunistic insurance companies and their defense attorneys who seek to use this as a technicality to avoid liability for an otherwise covered loss. Continue Reading New Mexico Requires Insurance Company to Demonstrate Substantial Prejudice Before Denying a Claim for Late Notice

The physical damage requirement to property at an insured premise has become the raging debate in many of the Covid-19 business interruption disputes. I noted a Florida case1 in a blog about “physical damage,” which I wrote about in 2009 while working on Hurricane Ike roof damage claims: “Physical Direct Loss” Caselaw and TWIA’s Roofing Memo. Given that the Azalea, Ltd. v. American States Insurance Company decision is now being cited frequently in briefs regarding businesses being shut down, it seems appropriate to have a more in-depth discussion. Continue Reading “Physical Damage” Can Occur From An Unknown Substance That Shuts Down a Business or Conditions That Make a Structure Useless

The National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) permits an insured to file a supplemental Proof of Loss that adds or changes an earlier submitted version. To be valid, the supplemental Proof of Loss must be filed within 60 days of the loss. No exception allows the insured to submit a supplemental Proof of Loss after the 60 days, even if the insured later determines that the flood damage it sustained exceeds the amount stated in the original Proof of Loss. Continue Reading Can an Insured Submit a Supplemental Flood Proof of Loss If the Insurer Has Already Paid the Initial Proof of Loss?