Sean Shaw, Chip Merlin, and Leander Shaw

Last Tuesday night, I held my head in my hands almost crying after Sean Shaw confirmed he won election to Florida’s House of Representatives by a little more than a hundred votes. I could see the relief in Sean’s eyes as well. Waiting for a jury verdict and results from an election have certain similar emotional similarities.

I told Sean that my father grew up a couple of blocks from Hillsborough High School and that area is in the middle of Sean’s district. I thought about Sean Shaw’s father as well because successful fathers leave big legacies to fill. Sean’s father, Leander Shaw, was Florida’s first black Supreme Court Justice and a significant leader in Florida’s Civil Rights movement. Trying to live one’s own dreams while fulfilling self-imposed expectations aimed to please a parent can be as tough task.

Sean Shaw’s current task is to become the best he can as a leader and representative of his community. Later last week, we talked about the huge responsibility he has to those that elected him. Being a great representative is a lot more than showing up for the 60-day Florida legislative session. While some may think that working on insurance matters is Sean’s only priority, I can assure everybody that taking care of the good folks that have placed their trust with him is also where his focus will be.

Insurance is an expertise that Sean Shaw will carry with him. The insurance industry may be pleasantly surprised about some of his views, especially regarding Assignment of Benefit clauses. Both of us have expressed concerns about restoration contractors obtaining complete assignment of benefits when the work performed is only for a portion of the claim and for coverages that have nothing to do with work performed. "Gaming" of claims is not good for consumers of insurance nor the insurance industry.

I am very proud to have Sean as an attorney in our firm and was even more proud as he described how he intends to keep rooted in his community’s interests rather than his own personal and political interests.

  • This is awesome. Congratulations!!

  • shirley heflin

    Dear Chip:

    Congratulations to Sean Shaw! It’s good to hear that he’s not only “in session” for insurance-related issues, but also there to confront concerns raised by the people that voted him in. Obviously, come re-election, those same Voters will decide if their best interests were served.

    Further, regarding the “GAMING” of claims wherein Restoration Contractors obtain a “complete Release” settling a claim in its entirety settlement when their services only account for a portion of it, I’d like to share something else. This does not only happen in property insurance claims. This also occurs in Bodily Injury claims during adjustment of Property Damage claims, BI claims, etc. Following an automobile crash, the at-fault driver’s carrier often contacts the injured party and expresses “sympathy” for their insured’s negligence. Said carrier may also offer the injured party money for the 20% of outstanding medical bills not covered by their PIP coverage and, thus far, that amount may only be for the ER bill! The injured claimant may be desperate for money due to rental expense, lost wages, outstanding medical bills, etc., and agree to their “generous offer.” The Tortfeasor’s carrier will then send the Plaintiff a Release and advise that they must sign it and return it before a draft can be issued. What some Plaintiffs do not realize is that there is a clause in said Release that is “releasing” and/or settling the entire BI claim, however, they are desperate for money and sign it!


    Tampa, FL

  • David Bierman

    Congrats Sean!!!!

    you will do great, the insurance industry is always surprised that we are not as bad as the kool aid says we are!!

    Best of Luck

  • Don Phillips

    After having worked with Sean while he served as counsel for the FAPIA Board of Directors I have no doubt that he will be an effective spokesman for both his constituents and Florida insurance consumers in general. Sean is one of those rare individuals who can passionately advocate for his position without resorting to the acrimony and nastiness we see too often in today’s political climate. A heartfelt congratulations to Sean – Don Phillips, President Elect, Florida Association of Public Insurance Adjusters

  • Mike Rump

    I can attest to Sean’s strong character and I know Sean has his hands full. Without a doubt, Sean will be advocate for the consumer and the property insurance consumer is his specialty. Congrats again Sean and I look forward to watching your work.