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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An Orlando Sentinel article, Florida Lawmakers Are Being Misled About Insurance Lawsuits, Expert Contends,1 makes one wonder whether Florida’s Insurance Commissioner has sold out Floridians to benefit Florida’s property insurance industry. One of the country’s most noted insurance experts, Birny Birnbaum, was quoted in the article concerning a letter Florida’s Insurance Commissioner wrote: Continue Reading Is Florida’s Insurance Commissioner a Stooge for the Insurance Industry?

John Pappas was the senior partner of Florida’s largest property insurance defense firm. He has written a “white paper” about the Florida legislation in HB 305, currently pending in the Florida House. His conclusion is as follows when it comes to frivolous lawsuits and stopping insurance litigation: Continue Reading Florida Insurance Company Attorney Calls Out Bad Insurance Legislation Harming Floridians—Join Me on Today’s Tuesday @2 With Chip Merlin

The new property insurance tactic to avoid payment and thereby delay or deny appraisal is to claim that the policyholder asked for too much and the claimed amount is fraudulent. A Florida case, American Capital Assurance Corporation v Leeward Bay at Tarpon Bay Condominium Association,1 which will be reviewed by the Florida Supreme Court, will eventually decide these issues. Continue Reading Can Insurance Companies Avoid Appraisal by Alleging the Amount Claimed is Fraudulent?

United Policyholders has sent a letter to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis calling on him to oppose the current pending legislation founds in SB 76 and HB 305. Here is part of the letter written by Amy Bach to Governor DeSantis: Continue Reading United Policyholders Calls on Governor DeSantis to Oppose Harmful Bills to Florida’s Policyholders

Appraisal is generally thought of as a quicker and more cost-efficient method of resolving property insurance controversies than litigation. That is not the case when an appraisal is followed up with litigation. Further, while infrequent, there are instances when appraisers and umpires can be drawn into the litigation controversy, as evidenced by recent filings in a Texas federal case involving a Baptist Church and Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company.1 Continue Reading Appraisals Can Lead to Nasty Legal Battles—Should Appraisers and Umpires Get Insurance Protecting Them?

Mortgage servicers, banks, and their accountants must sign off under federal regulations that the loans that they package and are underwritten by Fannie Mae comply with certain requirements, including those involving insurance. If the mortgage does not have the proper insurance, it cannot be part of the Fannie Mae backed system. The Florida Senate passed insurance legislation which clearly jeopardizes the chances of home ownership by Floridians with a Fannie Mae mortgage because it is non-compliant. Worse is that when many Floridians buy that type of non-compliant insurance, they may have the additional burden and expense of the mortgage servicer adding force-placed coverage. Continue Reading Florida Senate Passes Insurance Bill That Will Make Mortgages Non-Negotiable Under Federal Regulations

Remember how the Florida insurance industry and its lobbyists promised that if AOB reform were passed, insurance rates would drop because AOB litigation was the cause of increased premiums? Since that law passed, rates have not dropped. Floridians were duped by insurance industry propaganda, and the same insurance industry is promoting more anti-policyholder laws that literally prevent Citizens Property Insurance from asking for a rate decrease—and some Florida legislators voted yesterday to make it against the law for Citizens Property to ask for a rate decrease! Continue Reading Do Not Believe Florida’s Insurance Industry That Laws Will Reduce Rates When Rates Often Depend Upon Mother Nature and Reinsurance Rates

I will be in Tallahassee today providing testimony regarding property insurance claims legislation. It seems that every year the Florida insurance industry makes up a crisis which calls for Florida legislators to fix. Remember how the AOB reform was promised to reduce rates and had to be passed? The legislation was passed and the insurance rates have not gone down. Why should anybody trust the insurance lobbyists? Insurance companies try to act like victims when they are making up alleged scapegoats and obscuring the reality of what they do in the claims process. Continue Reading Zeroed Out Hurricane Claims and Cheating Claims Practices—Why Are Our Florida Politicians Ignoring These Ongoing Claims Problems and Seemingly Protecting Cheating Insurance Companies?

Have you ever read an insurance company advertisement saying that it is going to potentially treat their own customer’s insurance claim with a marring protocol or technical claims directive such as the one I published yesterday in, The Marring Protocol and Other Unfair Methods to Underpay Florida Policyholders? Of course not. Most insurance companies promise prompt, quick, easy, and fast payments with the best claims service in the industry. Continue Reading Insurance Company Advertisements and Promises of Peace of Mind Versus the Reality of Claims Treatment