Since 1983, Chip Merlin has served as a plaintiff’s attorney with a focus on commercial & residential property insurance claim disputes and bad faith insurance litigation. Chip is a noted national authority on insurance bad faith, lecturing to national trade groups and publishing a number of papers and articles on the subject for organizations such as The American Association for Justice, The Florida Justice Association, The Windstorm Insurance Network, and Trial Magazine.

As founder and president of Merlin Law Group, Chip has dedicated his practice to the representation and advocacy of insurance policyholders in disputes with insurance companies nationwide.

Chip served as Chair for the Bad Faith Insurance Litigation Group and Secretary for the Fire and Property Insurance Litigation Group for the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America). He was also Vice-Chair for the Subcommittee on Property Insurance Law for the American Bar Association.
Read More…
Continue Reading Chip Merlin

During the First Party Claims Conference last week, New York attorney Jonathan Lerner and I discussed the new public adjuster regulations that had just come into effect in New York on October 8. The New York Department of Financial Services listed the following in a press release announcing these new regulations: Continue Reading New York Public Adjusters Have New Consumer Protections To Follow

The Rocky Mountain Public Insurance Adjuster Association (RMAPIA) will hold its Fall Meeting starting on Wednesday, November 3, in Denver. Yours truly will have two special Merlin Law Group attorneys, Larry Bache and Jon Bukowski, explaining what we see as the top property insurance claims trends throughout the Rocky Mountain states and the coverage gaps issue causing more problems for policyholders. Continue Reading Rocky Mountain Public Insurance Adjusters Meet on November 3 & 4 in Denver

The Colorado Division of Insurance (DORA) has requested comments1 on a proposed bulletin about timelines that insurance companies impose upon policyholders to complete repairs and replace damaged property. Here is the proposed bulletin:

Continue Reading Colorado Asks For Response On Unilateral Insurer Timelines To Complete Construction or Replacement

A lawsuit by Olympus Insurance Company challenges Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation about issues of paying for property that matches following a repair. The lawsuit also challenges whether the Florida matching statute is a minimum limit of indemnity and if insurers can contract out of matching. Continue Reading Is Florida’s Matching Statute a Minimum Limit of Required Indemnity or Can Insurers Contract Out of Matching?

The Insurance Journal recently ran a story about a Florida insurance company dropping its administrative petition1 that asked whether a public adjuster working on a claim violates Florida statutes when the public adjuster’s relatives own the remediation or restoration company performing work on the claim. Continue Reading Can Relatives or Spouses of Florida Public Adjusters Own the Remediation or Restoration Company Retained By the Policyholder?

Whether damaged property can be “matched” during a repair is a major property insurance adjustment issue. There is one Louisiana appellate case discussing the matching issue,1 and it found for the policyholder. A prior post, Provide the Right Proof so Your Insurer Will Pay Costs to Repair or Replace to Match Texture, Color, and Likeness, should be studied because the result may depend upon the policyholder’s presentation of loss. Continue Reading Do Insurers In Louisiana Have To Match Damaged Property?

Steve Badger and I had a rematch debate yesterday at the TAPIA Conference in Kerrville, Texas.1 There were some topics that we agreed were “juicy,” with attorneys getting unilateral agreements for umpire appointments and other Texas attorneys winning cases and then being arrested. But I came across a pleading in a Florida lawsuit where Tower Hill claimed all kinds of fraud against a contractor and a “juicy” counterclaim was filed by the contractor against Tower Hill entities, its CEO and US Forensics. Continue Reading Contractor Fights Back Against Tower Hill and US Forensic

Another Steve Badger versus Chip Merlin Rematch will take place this Thursday at the Texas Association of Public Insurance Adjusters (TAPIA) Fall Conference. In preparation for this debate, I came across another example of a Texas city being abused in the property insurance claims process by the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool. Continue Reading Texas Cities Should Not Purchase Property Insurance From the Texas Municipal League Intergovernmental Risk Pool

Who has the burden of proof in a typical all-risk insurance policy which is now often referred to as an “open perils” policy? What does a policyholder typically have to prove to make a claim for property damage? These are fairly basic questions with answers that can become confusing when the burdens switch. Continue Reading Who Has the Burden to Prove the Cause of Property Damage? Those Burdens of Proof Can Switch!