Agents and carriers don’t tell their customers that they’ll inspect to see if they ever wanted to insure them in the first place after issuing a policy. In California, the law gives this right to residential and commercial carriers. In residential claims, we often see carriers lure insureds away from a competitor with cheaper premium pricing, fail to fully investigate the adequacy of the risk during the application process, proceed to issue a policy, and then cancel after issuance and an underwriting inspection. By this time, the insured has typically already cancelled their policy with their prior insurer. Continue Reading Your Insurer Can Issue You a Policy While Planning to Underwrite it Later

Patrick Moffett was at the First Party Claims Conference in Marina Del Rey this week. Another speaker, Matt Blumkin, mentioned Moffett’s update in 2020 of a paper, Wildfire Impact Assessments Completed by an Industrial Hygienist and Other Qualified Experts. Those handling wildfire insurance claims should read and study. Continue Reading Wildfire Insurance Claims—Considerations From An Expert

Dan Veroff is an attorney with Merlin Law Group’s California practice. In addition to his expertise in property insurance, Dan has a wealth of knowledge and experience resolving disputed health, disability, and life insurance claims, individually and in class actions. When Dan joined Merlin Law Group in 2018 to help grow the firm’s California presence, Dan also started increasing the firm’s visibility in the health, disability, and life insurance sphere nationwide. Dan obtained his expertise in these areas prior to joining Merlin Law Group when he worked for one of the top California law firms in these practice areas. Continue Reading A Break from Property – Dan Veroff Leads Merlin Law Groups Health, Disability, and Life Practice

United Policyholders (“UP”), a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to be a trustworthy and useful information resource and a respected voice for consumers of all types of insurance in all 50 states, launched its national Restoring the Insurance Safety Net Coalition (RISC) initiative in 2020. The purpose of this initiative is to reverse the trend of insurance policy re-writes that are shrinking coverage for damage to homes. One of its stated approaches is to identify wording that is causing protection gaps. I encourage you to read more about the initiative at uphelp.org/risc. Continue Reading Beware of Avoidable Coverage Gaps with California FAIR Plan Companion Endorsements

What are additional living expenses?

Additional living expenses are typically included as a coverage in homeowner property insurance policies under “Loss of Use.” In a recent blog post, Is Your Insurance Company Threatening to Prematurely Terminate Loss of Use Benefits, Merlin Law Group attorney Dan Veroff discussed Loss of Use benefits and what carriers are doing to curtail those benefits prematurely. As stated in that blog post, Loss of Use benefits are intended to cover the cost of temporary placement when the insured premises suffers a covered loss that renders it unusable until repaired. Continue Reading Additional Living Expenses: What Does Your Policy Cover and For How Long?

California statutory law known as the Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) bars “any unlawful, unfair or fraudulent business act or practice” and gives courts the powers to fashion relief where money alone won’t be sufficient. Of course, this begs the question: Can an insured sue their insurer for violating the UCL? A recent federal district court ruling says no, at least when the case is a straightforward breach of contract and bad faith case. Continue Reading Can I Sue My Insurer under the California Unfair Competition Law?

Like many states, California law makes it difficult to sue for being “underinsured.” The law places the primary responsibility for securing enough coverage and the right kinds on the insured. An insurance company, agent or broker has no duty at law to recommend any particular coverages or limits. However, they are liable if they fail to procure the agreed upon coverage, make a misrepresentation about how the coverage works, or fail to fulfill some other “special duty” they voluntarily undertook. Continue Reading California Court Rejects Another Half-Baked Underinsurance Case

With wildfire season in full swing, it is worth revisiting the laws surrounding the deadlines to file suit and ensuring that coverage counsel properly writes the lawsuit to avoid dismissal. Last week, a federal court ruled that an insured’s lawsuit was filed too late based on the allegations the insured herself set forth. The court ruled, consistent with California law, that the deadline is firm and missing the deadline bars the lawsuit. The case is Rosenberg-Wohl v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Company.1 Continue Reading Not Following California’s Intricate Suit Limitations Rules Dooms Yet Another Unsophisticated Insured