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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“MAPFRE is not paying property insurance claims and is threatening the safety of Puerto Ricans,” was the message public adjuster Jack Hanks noted in a CBS news report. Jack Hanks and David Skipton held a seminar in Tampa earlier this spring for public adjusters just starting out in the public adjusting business. Hanks is an excellent speaker and educator as one can tell from the news story. Continue Reading CBS News Report—Public Adjuster Calls Out MAPFRE For Not Paying Puerto Rico Hurricane Claims

The Big I calls the “where you reside” language found in ISO standard language the “catastrophic homeowners policy exclusion.”1 On its website, it states: Continue Reading “Residence Premises” and “Where You Reside” Insurance Coverage Gaps—The Killer Exclusion That Is Not Listed As An Exclusion: Part Two

A number of questions posed by coverage practitioners recently spiked about residency requirements found in the vast majority of standard homeowners forms. The spike and questions were the result of a particular Order denying a summary judgement.1 The case is still pending in Florida with trial set August 2, 2021. While that case is relatively new, the policy language which acts as a killer exclusion causing a hidden insurance coverage gap has been a topic of great controversy in the insurance industry for well over a decade. An article was published in an agents’ education journal twenty years ago about the “where you reside” wording found in homeowners insurance policies. Continue Reading “Residence Premises” and “Where You Reside” Insurance Coverage Gaps—The Killer Exclusion That Is Not Listed As An Exclusion: Part One

Rocco Calaci is presenting a very scientific discussion on severe weather in a webinar at 11 am ET today. While I am fortunate to work with a number of very highly qualified meteorologists throughout the United States, I once wrote an article asking, Rocco Calaci – Is Rocco the Best Meteorologist?. I noted in that article: Continue Reading Meteorology Is Important When Determining Cause of Damage in High Wind and Hail Damage Events

Great American Insurance Company attorney Bill Wilson of the Mound Cotton law firm announced at a hearing in the Champlain Towers South Case that the insurer would tender its full policy limits and pay additional coverages totaling more than 30 million dollars. The catastrophe was on June 24 and the claims decision was announced only 22 days after the occurrence. While I have often criticized insurance claims executives for taking too long to investigate and come to a claims determination, Great American deserves a Bravo and resounding accolades for putting this claims determination to rest. Continue Reading Great American Agrees to Pay Champlain Towers South Property Insurance Claim and More to Be Discussed on Tuesday @2 with Chip Merlin

The recent catastrophe at the Champlain Towers South has raised questions regarding condominium unit owners HO6 Coverage and various inquiries regarding loss assessment coverage. Last week, I published a post in the Merlin Law Group Condominium Insurance Law Blog, Condominium Owners Purchasing Insurance Beware! Buy The Right HO6 Policy From a Qualified Agent, suggesting that HO6 polices have numerous options through endorsements which can broaden the amount of HO6 found in the basic and cheap form of coverage many agents sell. Continue Reading Loss Assessment Coverage Under the HO6 Condominium Policy

Michael Cassel forwarded the above letter from Citizens Property Insurance Company which accepts the position that Florida’s new pre-suit notice requirements do not apply to policies issued before July 1, 2021. There is previous case precedent that supports this position and Citizens is not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. Continue Reading Citizens Agrees That Florida’s New Pre-Suit Notice Requirements Does Not Apply to Policies Issued Before the Effective Date of the Statute

It did not take long for part of the recent anti-policyholder legislation to be declared illegal. Last Friday, Chief U.S. District Judge Mark Walker heard arguments in a lawsuit filed by Gale Force Roofing and Restoration, LLC, that claims the portion of SB 76 that prevents contractors from advertising to encourage property owners to file roof-damage claims violated free speech protections. Judge Walker ruled in favor of Gale Force Roofing and issued an injunction stopping Florida officials from enforcing part of the bill. Continue Reading Contractors and Roofers Can Advertise! Part of SB 76 Already Found Unconstitutional

Stempel and Knutsen on Insurance Coverage is a leading American insurance law treatise. The professors have also have published the fifth edition of Principles Of Insurance Law. The authors of those treatises were recently published in a University of Connecticut law review article, Infected Judgment: Problematic Rush to Conventional Wisdom and Insurance Coverage Denial in a Pandemic,1 which is a must read for those whose interest is insurance policy interpretation and those involved with Covid lost business income claims. Since the article is critical of many Covid business income judicial opinions at the motion to dismiss stage, judges and their law clerks involved with these cases should also look for guidance from these very respected insurance law professors. Continue Reading Covid Business Interruption Claims Law Review Article Is a Must Read For Students Of Insurance Policy Interpretation

We hope everyone stays safe with Tropical Storm Elsa. As a result of the tropical storm, we will not be hosting Tuesday at 2 today. You can find helpful information on navigating tropical storm damage claims in our Hurricane Checklist. Please do not hesitate to contact our offices with any hurricane or tropical storm-related damage inquires.

Next week’s Tuesday at 2 will be replaced by our latest webinar – How Significant Changes to Florida’s Property Insurance Laws Affect Everyone In The Claims Process. In this webinar, Holly Soffer (general counsel for AAPIA) and I will discuss the recent legislative changes in Florida and their impact on the insurance claim sector.

You can register and find more information on next week’s webinar here.