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.
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Boating provides a great deal of pleasure to millions of Americans. Spring is here, and the horrible winter weather will be getting better for all of us to enjoy time on the water. For those that own boats, my bet is that you have not read your marine insurance policy covering your boat. I will bet you an additional nickel that you have no clue whether your boat insurance policy has boilerplate language, which requires your boat to be behind a secured fence if the boat is on a trailer or lift. 

Continue Reading Does Your Boat Insurance Require You to Have a Trailered Boat Behind a Secured Fence?

Recent Florida legislation makes the assignment of benefits for a property insurance policy illegal in Florida. Recent cases demonstrate that such assignment of benefit contracts will be critically examined by courts when insurance companies raise issues about their validity.

Continue Reading Assignment of Benefits in Florida Will Soon Be Dead and Are Now Critically Examined

A very positive aspect of working at Merlin Law Group is working with a lot of passionate attorneys doing the same area of law. As a result, we get to share ideas about the best methods to handle cases and issues arising in the field of property insurance law. We even have a lawyer who is a licensed attorney, Ruck DeMinico, who does not work on any cases as a primary attorney but is a Knowledge Manager to support other lawyers. We can better spot, research, and make the best arguments for our clients.      

Continue Reading Trends of Value and Proving Loss Are Important Issues in 2023

A pamphlet, Are Our Schools Safe After the Marshall Fire, caught my attention. The bottom line is that smoke damage caused by urban wildfires is much more dangerous than conventional wildfires. The parents of school children in the vicinity of the Colorado Marshall Fire are correctly raising concerns about the safety of schools impacted by toxic smoke damage.    

Continue Reading After The Urban Wildfire and Safety Concerns

Mike Duffy and yours truly will be speaking at the First Party Claims Conference next week. Our presentation will analyze recent trends in property claims and will focus on the following topics:

  • Proof of Loss and Amount of Claim Issues
  • Appraisal
  • Assignment of Benefits
  • Inflation and Coinsurance
  • Fire and Smoke Claims
  • Depreciation of Labor
  • Surplus Lines Policy Form Changes
Continue Reading First Party Claims Conference West One Day Conference Next Wednesday in Marina Del Rey

Policyholders must be aware of arbitration clauses found in property insurance policies. Even if a state has an anti-arbitration law, most courts send the disputes to arbitration and possibly apply another state’s laws if the insurers are not based in the United States. For example, yesterday, a federal court ruled:1  

Continue Reading Missouri Court Upholds Arbitration Despite Anti-Arbitration Statute When Foreign Insurers Are Involved

A recent law review article, Policyholder Misrepresentation in Insurance Claims,1 written by insurance law professor Jay Feinman raised the issue of insurance companies wrongfully claiming fraud as a claims practice. Personally, I am sick and tired of the overuse of fraud allegations by insurance companies and their propagandists. Based on the significant amount of fraud claimed by insurance defense counsel and insurance company lobbyists, insurance seems to be a product more addictive than opioids because it turns a great deal of an otherwise innocent public into criminals.  

Continue Reading Do Insurance Companies Claim Fraud by the Policyholder for Opportunistic Reasons?

Florida Republican Legislators made a rule limiting public testimony from people who went all the way to Tallahassee to complain about insurance company misconduct last December during the special session which passed laws protecting insurance companies. They cut off the testimony of the whistleblowing independent adjusters who were providing evidence about the bad conduct of Florida insurance companies. Florida Republican leaders are now doing the same thing with new laws regarding insurance company bad faith while making new laws shielding insurance companies in third-party bad faith cases.

Continue Reading Why Do Republican Leaders Refuse to Listen To Complaints From Those Harmed By Insurance Companies?