Can a Marijuana Grow Operation Also Be a “Residence”?

The case of Weingarten v. Auto Owners Insurance Company,1 may have raised some interesting ideas about insurance policy interpretation, yet it was ultimately decided by a number of case-specific facts. Connie and Edward Weingarten sued their homeowner’s insurer, Auto-Owners Insurance Company, arguing that the company had improperly denied their insurance claim, which sought coverage for property damage due to an illegal marijuana grow operation. The Weingartens alleged breach of insurance contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and statutory unreasonable delay or denial. Continue Reading

The Status of Appraisal in Texas Insurance Policies & Claims

The majority of insurance policyholders do not realize that their property insurance policy may contain an appraisal provision. Insurance companies attempt to use appraisal provisions to impose unnecessary burdens on insureds and to eliminate the insureds potential to file a lawsuit against the insurance company and its adjusters for violations of the Texas Insurance Code, among other causes of action. Continue Reading

Mystery Mansion Fire Coverage Debate Explained, Part 1

When you read about the small village of Indian Hills, Ohio, you can’t help but think of it as a safe rural town in an out of the way location with rolling hills- something like a place out of a storybook. The community gathers together and celebrates holidays and news in the town revolves around the Saturday fishing tournament or the new horse trail. Continue Reading

An Unlucky Day? Friday, April 13, 2018, the Texas Supreme Court Issued a New Opinion in USAA Texas Lloyds v. Menchaca

On Friday, April 13, 2018, by avoiding black cats, ladders, and breaking mirrors, seven members of the Texas Supreme Court1 managed to issue a new, sixty-six page opinion in USAA Texas Lloyds Company v. Menchaca (“Menchaca II”).2 Withdrawing its April 7, 2017, opinion3 —”Menchaca I”—the court unanimously reaffirmed the five legal principles and rules announced in that opinion which addressed the relationship between contract claims under an insurance policy and tort claims under the Texas Insurance Code.4 The court issued the same disposition in Menchaca II —reversal and remand for a new trial—as it had in Menchaca I. So, one asks: “What is the difference in the two opinions? Which party suffered an unlucky day?” This article will attempt to answer those questions. Continue Reading

Commissioner of Insurance Extends Deadline for Policyholders to Demand Appraisal for Damages Caused by Hurricane Harvey

On April 18, 2018, the Texas Commissioner of Insurance issued Order No. 2018-5463, extending the deadline for a Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) policyholder to demand appraisal on their Hurricane Harvey claim. Harvey made landfall in Texas and affected several parts of the Greater Houston area as well as several coastal areas from August 25 to August 30, 2017. Continue Reading

The Mortgage Company Refuses to Release Your Insurance Claim Payment – Your Rights and Steps to Take

I recently met with a couple whose house was partially blown away in a tornado a year ago. I’ll call them Mr. and Mrs. Garcia. Mr. and Mrs. Garcia did everything they were supposed to – they promptly filed the tornado claim with their insurance company, they took photos of the damages, hired a public adjuster to help them handle their claim, and more. Continue Reading

Claim Handling Requirements by State – Washington

Washington State is not only known as the “Evergreen State” and the only state named after a United States President, but it is also the home of many innovative Internet companies and where the biggest coffee chain in the world was founded: Starbucks. Besides these facts it is also important to know how a claim should be handled in Washington. Continue Reading

Individual Insurance Adjusters in Washington May Be Personally Liable for Statutory Bad Faith As Well As Violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act

Last month, a Washington State Court of Appeals ruled that individual insurance adjusters may be personally liable for violations of Washington’s bad faith statute, RCW 48.01.030. The court also ruled that adjusters may be personally liable for violations of Washington’s Consumer Protection Act, RCW Continue Reading